Happy Yule everyone! Last night we celebrated the winter solstice with a beautiful ceremony, lovingly created by Mama Moontime for all her Moondew babies.
For those not in the know, the winter solstice marks the longest night of the year. In the northern hemisphere this is celebrated in December, very close to Christmas. Of course, this is probably no coincidence, as Pagan cultures had been celebrating Yule for thousands of years prior to the coming of Jesus Christ, and to them it marked the rebirth of the sun. The winter solstice is celebrated with the giving of gifts and the sharing of food, and is a time to welcome the light back into the world as the days start to grow longer.
We celebrated with a shared feast of soup, bread and delicious desserts!
The feasting was followed by a hauntingly beautiful spiral walk. Each family took it in turns to enter the darkened spiral with their unlit apple candles. This part of the walk symbolises the exit of the dark, or the end of the long nights. On reaching the centre we lit our candles and started the walk out of the spiral, leaving our candles at a chosen spot, to light the way for others. Walking in the lit spiral symbolises the return of the sun, or the beginning of the longer days. It is always a magical experience.
After the solemn walk, the children were itching to light their very own lanterns. These were created both at home and at playgroup, and have been sitting patiently on the bench, just waiting for the winter festival. The lanterns lit the way back to the car, and journeyed home with us. One has even been taken to school for show and tell today, along with some of these photos to help explain the celebration. Such a wonderful experience for little children!
If you would like to read about my more personal solstice experience, click here.