7 Winter Solstice Traditions That You'll Want To Celebrate With Your Friends
Guess what? The winter solstice doesn't just mean that you're going to be saying hi to darker hours for the day. There are cultures around the world that carry out specific traditions to celebrate the winter solstice. Many of them may even be winter solstice traditions to celebrate with friends. It's a time to really delve into something new.
There's nothing wrong with embracing a different perspective. It's better than sitting in the dark and wishing the light would come back. Traditions are deeply rooted, and that's what's so beautiful about them. Their very existence lies in people's belief in them and their devotion to continue them year after year. Even if you and your friends can't identify with the culture, partaking in a new tradition may broaden your minds. The traditions obviously vary, depending on which culture you're exploring.
Isn't it so interesting how a day can be perceived completely different because of your culture? Well, we are here for the diversity, and you and your friends should be eager to get your hands full of new winter solstice traditions. Now, you may not be able to go as full out as some of these traditions call for, but creating your own variation of any of them could still be really cool.
1. Chaomos Festival
The Kalasha or Kalash Kafir people partake in Chaomos in parts of Pakistan. It consists of just about seven days, and includes the winter solstice. There's ritual bathing (again, you can innovate), eating, bonfires, singing and dancing. We've done most of this without considering the winter solstice, so it shouldn't be too hard to adapt to.
2. Ancient December Solstice Observance In Poland
Before Christianity, the December solstice marked a time for showing forgiveness and splitting food. Honestly, how cool is that? Imagine if we decided to squash all beef during the winter solstice and then grabbed some lunch. You and your friends can afford to forgive a shared arch nemesis... and then grab some pizza.
3. Dongzhi Festival
Dongzhi translates into "the extreme of winter." In China, the festival is designed to allow people to spend time with their families and eat lavish meals while also honoring more daylight hours. For them, the return of daylight hours also signifies a boost in positive energy. I mean, you and your friends are also like a little family and you all would never turn down a good meal or the belief that good vibes are not far away.
Those who practice Paganism celebrate Yule. It is marked as the "sun's rebirth" and new solar year. The Yule log is one of the most anticipated factors of the celebration. When burned, a piece of the previous year's Yule log is also placed in a fire. Again, you and your friends may want to link up with a group more familiar with the symbolism, herbs, food, and candlelight rituals associated with Yule.
5. Visiting Stonehenge In England
First of all, who wouldn't want to go to the ancient ruins of Stonehenge? It's actually very popular to go there during the winter solstice. Access is free, but the real trouble is beating crowds that will be headed over as well. Everyone is waiting to see that super enchanting sunrise. Bucket list?
6. Saturnalia Parade
Saturnalia was one of the most festive holidays in ancient Rome. Work and businesses would close, and everyone would really let their hair down to celebrate the winter months ahead. Music, gift giving, and eating were a main part of the festivities. It got pretty celebratory, so if you and your friends can join in on a bar crawl and hit the streets, go for it.
7. Shab-e Yalda
Iranians celebrate Shab-e Yalda, which means "night of birth." It is believed that more evil lurks during the longer, darker hours. Members celebrating stay up to protect and watch over one another. Families usually feast on nuts, read poetry, and partake in acts of charity. All-nighters? You have been there and done that before. Oh, and don't forget the food.
There's more than one way to celebrate the winter solstice, and you'll be amazed how awesome it can be to wander outside of your comfort zone. Exploring these traditions with your friends will make it that much more special and fun.