In the northern hemisphere, the winter solstice will occur on 12/21, specifically 5:03pm CST. Go here to find the exact time where you are. The exact moment of the solstice occurs when the sun is directly over the Tropic of Capricorn in the Southern Hemisphere. It's the exact moment of the summer solstice in the Southern Hemisphere! It's the shortest day of the year, and often known as the first day of winter.
No matter your spiritual or religious beliefs, you can celebrate the solstice. It's been observed by people all over the world since ancient times, and no matter what you believe, or don't believe, it's the moment when the days get longer...the moment the sun returns.
If you're looking for some good ways to celebrate the winter solstice, here are some ideas:
- View the sunset on 12/21 and/or the sunrise on 12/22. The sunset on the winter solstice celebrates darkness and winter. The sunrise is the birth of the sun, and the return to light.
- Candles everywhere! Lighting candles is a great and simple way to celebrate the triumph of light over darkness. To make it into a ritual, light a candle for each prayer or wish you have for the coming year.
- Light a fire...preferably in a fireplace or outdoor fire pit, not just anywhere. ;) Bonfires and yule logs are a big part of solstice traditions. It's yet another way to celebrate the triumph of light over darkness. Make it into a ritual by writing down things you want to let go off from the past year on pieces of paper, and then burn them.
- Unplug. Sorry, the glow of your screens does not count as celebrating the triumph of light over darkness. Get closer to the natural balance and cycle of the seasons by taking time away from your devices and spending time with the natural world.
- Make and display lanterns. If you're feeling ambitious, go all of the solstice night without any artificial light. You can put candles in decorated jars or make luminarias.
Whatever you do, or don't do, have a blessed solstice and happy new year!