Winter Solstice is usually on December 21, but sometimes falls on the 20th or 22nd (this year it's the latter). It marks the shortest day and longest night of the year. It is the time when the sun begins to 'return' in the northern hemisphere. In most pagan traditions, it was the time when the God (the Sun) was reborn (after his death at Samhain). It seems only fitting for Christian, then, to observe this time, since it is also when we celebrate the birth of our God (the Son).
As an Alaskan, I also find it fitting to celebrate the return of the sun, and the defeat of the darkness.
I've written about some of this before: Celebrating Solstice (a brief explanation of why I like to celebrate solstice, also some great footage of solstice at Newgrange), and Season of Light (some thoughts on how solstice fits in with Christianity)
- Make and walk a solstice spiral (ours in 2007, my mom's in 2009)
- Hold a gathering with friends--this year we're having a soup potluck.
- Eat foods that are round and/or yellow (or orange, or glowing), like the sun!
- Make and hang orange circles (sun ornaments). ----->
- Sing songs about light and sunshine!
- Here Comes the Sun (The Beatles)
- Morning Has Broken (Cat Stevens)
- Sunshine on my Shoulder (John Denver)
- Jesus Wants Me for a Sunbeam (LDS childrens hymn)
- The Lord is my Light (there are several hymns with this title, all based on a Psalm)
- Bring a Torch, Jennette Isabella
(I have to give the disclaimer here that I only thought of a few of these, my facebook friends helped come up with most of the list)
- Sun Bread
- Orange slices (not segments, but slices cut across, so they are round)
- Cinnamon rolls or orange rolls or pinwheels or other spiral breads
- Squash soup
- Yellow Curry
- Deviled eggs (or hard boiled eggs, or eggs in almost any form really!)
- A yellow cheeseball
- Lemon or lemon-poppy seed muffins
- Carrot sticks arranged like sun rays on a plate
- Round crackers (such as ritz) with cheese on them (if you like the squirty cheese-whiz type, and then you can make spirals of cheese on the crackers)
- Flan, custard, butterscotch pudding (in little round dishes)
- Pineapple upside down cake--especially if you use the pineapple slices, and maybe even put cherries in the center of each!
- Yellow bundt cake
- Peanut butter balls
- Lemon meringue pie (or pineapple meringue, or orange meringue...lots of options!)
- Meringue (cookies)
- Round or sun-shaped cookies (you can even decorate them elaborately, like my friend did here and here)
- Spiral/pinwheel cookies like this (or with whatever sugar cookie/butter cookie recipe you like best) try dying half of the dough orange or yellow rather than pink.
- Make a 'yule log' jelly roll, with chocolate frosting on the outside (and if you're really ambitious you can pipe woodgrain on it too!)
What do you do for Solstice?
What other ideas can you add to my lists of foods, songs, or activities?