Cultures all over the world have seen the Winter Solstice as something magical and mystical to behold and celebrate. There are scores of festival celebrated in different parts of the world at the time of the Winter Solstice as it marks the shortest day of the year. The city of Rovaniemi in Finland has a day that last for only a couple of hours as the sun rises and falls or its shortest pass. It happens on the 20th or 21st December in the Northern hemisphere and corresponds to the Summer Solstice in the Southern hemisphere.
The Ancient Romans and other people of Ancient Europe used to mark the passing of the Winter Solstice with a series of events and feasts as they saw this as the end of one year and the start of the next – the start of the long road to summer. It is a day that has been shrouded in enchantment and delight for religions and peoples all over the world for millennia. It has been seen as a significant day for pagans, Buddhists, Oriental communities and others over many centuries – it is even celebrated as Global Orgasm in the internet age, which we won’t go into today. The fact that people have been and are in tune with the passing of the seasons was very important in the world since the dawn of man. Events often lasted for a full month as the end of the year was eagerly anticipated.
On the longest, and darkest, night of the year people have stopped to think about their mortality, their souls and their place in this life. It is the end of one period of time and the dawn of another. It is time to cast out the old and plan for the new. The Winter Solstice is seen as the time when people plant new seeds and ideas for the coming year.
Stonehenge in the United Kingdom has long been associated globally with the solstices and equinoxes and is at the forefront of the pagan movement. At Stonehenge every Winter Solstice the passing of the sun is celebrated by druids with gathering and song. It is a celebration of the bringing of new life and the end of the year that has just passed.