The Winter Solstice or Yule is celebrated on December 21st and marks the longest, darkest night of the year. It is spent celebrating the Sun’s return with the sunrise. We live in a thriving multicultural and interfaith time, and since Paganism is as old as the hills, here are some of the most popular ways to ring in the end of the solar year.
Winter Solstice Traditions
There is nothing like a clean, decluttered house to soothe the mind. How can you get ready to partake in holiday festivities when you’re forever tripping over your BodyRock dumbbells—give them a home on a weight rack. Get rid of unused possessions, donate whatever you can to charity, do a ‘Spring clean’ around your home, organize, and pull out your broom to sweep away any residual negativity so you can welcome the upcoming year. Finally, smudge the house from corner-to-corner with sage to purify your home.
Once you’ve got a squeaky clean house, it’s time to cut down an evergreen tree or pull out your artificial tree and decorate it in Druid holiday colors of green, red, and white. If you prefer an artificial tree, add a few pieces of cut evergreen as a garland over your windows or doors to ring in the holiday season, as the evergreen is a symbol of everlasting life.
The other aspect of bringing an evergreen indoors is pines represent rebirth, and in-keeping with another Pagan festival called Saturnalia, your “holiday tree” serves as a warm home for woodland spirits, and the food decorations on your tree nourish them during the cold winter months.
Traditionally, families set out into the forest to find a robust log (often oak) to burn to celebrate life and prosperity. But in this contemporary Yuletide carol, it’s not always possible to burn yule logs, so the custom has reinvented itself as taking your yule log, drilling holes in it, and adorning it with candles and greenery as your tabletop centerpiece.
Mistletoe is a sacred plant with healing properties as well as, protectives properties when hung over the main entrance to your house (hang year-round for luck). And the little jingle about kissing under the mistletoe, well, traditionally, it was thought to be a powerful aphrodisiac.
Hang a Wreath
Forget hanging stockings with care. It’s an evergreen wreath you really should be itching to hang, for it represents the wheel of everlasting life. And like the evergreen tree, the Winter Solstice is a time of rebirth.
Bring light and love inside to warm your home during the cold winter months by lighting candles. If you’re making an altar to celebrate Yule, make sure there are plenty of candles.
Celebrate with Family and Friends
As with any festival, bring out the cheer and get merry by having a Winter Solstice feast with a Yule Log as your centerpiece. Going hand-in-hand with celebrating is getting into the spirit of giving gifts for the joy of it, sending greetings cards, and spreading holiday cheer to your family and everyone you meet. Granted, this year it may be more socially-distanced, virtual cheer, but cheer nevertheless!
For more cheer this holiday season: join the BodyRock Family today!
Watch the Sunset
On the shortest day of the year, the Winter Solstice marks the death of the Sun and is a time to let go of the hardships of the outgoing solar year. It’s not a time for mourning; instead, it’s a time to celebrate the arrival of the new Sun Child. So as you watch the sun go down, recount all the bad times, like COVID-19 struggles, and simply let them go down with the Sun as it sets on the last day of the solar year.
Pagan Winter Solstice Traditions
The Winter Solstice is a time of rebirth and celebration. Celebrate this Winter Solstice and let go of the challenges you faced in 2020 by decluttering your house and mind, partaking in seasonal festivities like spreading cheer to everyone you meet, and decorating your home with greenery and candles to lead you into the light of the upcoming year.