Winter Solstice

The Winter Solstice is the longest night of the year in the northern hemisphere. The north hemisphere of the earth is farthest away from the sun. It marks the annual change from days that get shorter to days that grow longer.

Our winter festivals are oriented around the winter solstice, the longest night of the year in the northern hemisphere. It’s December 22 this year.

The ceremonies are generally about bringing back the sun, the giver of life on earth.

The Romans honored the sun god Mithras, the Persian sun god. They also honored Saturn, the god of wealth, agriculture and periodic renewal with the Saturnalia festival.

The Aztecs honored their sun god Huitzilopochtli.

The Jewish people celebrate Hanukkah, the festival of lights.

There is no record of when Christ was born. The celebration was set at December 25 in 336 under Roman emperor Constantine. The date was probably chosen to bring Roman solstice celebrations into Christianity. It didn’t become popular until the ninth century.

Kwanzaa was created in New York City by Ron Karenga in 1966. It has similarities to both Hanukkah and Christmas.

Humans being similar, generate similar traditions around the world and across time. Christmas has become a blend of winter traditions from around the world.


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