Rose Ariadne's Chitchcraft Blog

Dear Friends,

It doesn’t seem like that long ago that we were celebrating the summer solstice, and now the winter solstice will be upon us before we know it. So what is the winter solstice, why do we celebrate it, and how can we celebrate it?

The winter solstice has actually been celebrated around the world for thousands of years in one form or another. It’s also known as “Yule” which comes from the Norse word “Jul” that means “wheel. That’s a good way to look at it, since the winter solstice is a celebration of light and the start of the solar year.

Of course, most Western culture celebrate this time of year as Christmas, but that doesn’t mean that Christmas is solely rooted in Christianity. There are some Pagan influences there as well.

Many people don’t realize that December 25th was celebrated as a holiday of sorts before it was designated as the birth of Christ. In fact, Emperor Aurelian established the date as the birth of the Invincible Sun as part of the winter solstice celebrations that were held in the Roman Empire. Not long after that, the Christian church also used this date as the birth of Christ. This was in AD 273. In AD 336, the Roman celebration was Christianized and the two celebrations merged, more or less.

Many people also don’t realize that the date of January 6th, which is known in Christianity as the date of Epiphany, originally was the winter solstice date celebrated by the Egyptians.

In our house, we celebrate a lot of the traditions that are more commonly associated with Christianity. Some people find this confusing, as we don’t follow other Christian traditions. The reason that we do this is because a lot of the traditions that are carried out on Christmas truly have pagan roots and were not born in Christianity.

We celebrate Yule at our house and our celebrations last for more than just one day. As a matter of fact, we celebrate for about a week! We exchange gifts, but we don’t limit them to Christmas Day. One of our favorite traditions is to unwrap presents on the night of the 24th. We do this after our Yule Log ritual and we open the gifts by candlelight. The nighttime and candles give our home a magical feeling that is sometimes more atmospheric than unwrapping gifts by the glaring light of morning.

We have opened gifts on the morning of the 25th, but we have sometimes found that the day almost seems less special. If we get up early and open our gifts then we spend the rest of the day apart, playing with our new items in separate rooms of the house. By opening our gifts in the evening, however, we have the opportunity to look forward the evening all day. We cook and decorate and eat dinner together and then light our Yule Log. It makes the day a little more festive.

Red, green, and white are traditional Druidic holiday colors and are still used to decorate for Christmas today. We decorate our house with these colors in order to prepare for the winter solstice, too. We hang holly and ivy throughout our home and place evergreen branches around our doorframes. All the member of our family also help in making a wreath. We place pinecones and holly in it and hang it on the front door in order to symbolize the wheel of the year and the continuity of life.

Santa Claus is still welcomed in our home, but we recognize him as being a multi-cultural figure with an interesting background. He has facets of the Celtic god of the dying year (the Holly king), the Russian winter god (Grandfather Ice), the Norse sky god who rode in the sky in a chariot driven by goats (Thor), the Norse land spirit that gave children gifts (Tomte) and other figures from the past.

On solstice eve, we do a small ritual in which we honor the new solar year. It’s a simple ritual were we meditate in darkness and then light candles to welcome the sun’s rebirth. While many people celebrate the birth of the Son, we celebrate the birth of the Sun.

This year, the winter solstice will fall on December 21, 6:38 P.M. EST. We will celebrate on the 20th, as well as on the 21st. Then, we will celebrate Yule on the 24th and 25th. As you can see, our household is a place of merriment during December! Throughout the rest of the month we try to spend time with friends and family and show our appreciation for their love and support. It really s a wonderful time of the year, regardless as to how you celebrate it.

Here is hoping that your winter solstice is filled with love, wonderment, ad magic.

Brightest Blessings,

Rose Ariadne
Your Warm and Caring “Resident Witch In Charge”

Posted by Rose Comments 2


  1. December 11th, 2010 | #
  2. marie-christine says

    It’s interesting that you’ve share thoses traditions, that sometimes we seem to forget about that from where they’ve started in the first place, and how pagan roots are related to this also, I still learning about this. Thank you for sharing this with all of us, and I’ll hope that thoses festives times would be for you a great times with family and friend. Best wishes to you and your family either for the holidays to come dear Rose. Happy winter soltice either dear.
    Brightest Blessings

    December 13th, 2010 | #

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