The winter solstice is now celebrated in many different cultures. This has been going on for thousands of years now, marking the brand new solar year with different practices. The Winter Solstice has been known in many under names like Yule. What is interesting is that you may already know this time of the year and you do not know it. We say this because in most parts of the world we actually celebrate Christmas. This common celebration has strong Pagan roots. The date of December 25th was set due to the wishes of Emperor Aurelian and it marked Roman Winter Solstice. Christians started celebrating Christmas as the day where Jesus was born in the year 273.
Many of the rituals, symbols, lore and customs connected with Christmas, the Winter Solstice, are connected to the Pagan cultures of ancient times. If you want to celebrate Christmas this year in a more Pagan way, just as in the past, here are some things to consider.
- In many of the ancient cultures we had celebrations that were way longer than just one day. With this in mind, be sure that you celebrate for longer this year. Focus on interfaith aspects and the multicultural connection that is possible.
- Use sacred colors and herbs to adorn your home. Use the Druidic colors like green, white and red. Use evergreen boughs, pine cones and holly in the home. Mistletoe can be added above the areas where a lot of people will socialize. Pagan symbols can be used to decorate and this is actually a pretty good idea if you truly want to celebrate Winter Solstice in the traditional way.
- Always convey love to your friends, co-workers and family. This celebration is all about love. In Saturnalia there was a custom where friends and family did feast together and then exchanged presents. This is what inspired the current Christmas traditions but you can take it one step further by simply organizing something a gathering.
- Change the way you look at Santa Claus. You should know that Santa Claus has a strong Pagan background. The characteristics that appear now are a mix of Cronos, the Holly King, Father Ice, Thor, Saturn, Frey and Odin. Because of this, try to teach the children about all these aspects.
- Never forget about light. The Solstice Eve ritual will offer you a great experience. Indoor fireplaces and outdoor fire will be great. Sing the Pagan carols and then light up the entire home.
- The Winter Solstice will always be about helping others. Because of this, make sure that you donate something. You do not necessarily need to donate money. Clothing and food will be appreciated by the people that are poor near where you live. Alternatively, try to volunteer for a charity. This is a great time of the year to basically give back.
Learn more about the Winter Solstice and think about what celebrations are great for you this year. There are so many options available, all based on the culture that you get inspiration from.