Winter solstice is an astronomical phenomenon marking the shortest day and the longest night of the year.Winter solstice occurs for the Northern Hemisphere in December and for the Southern Hemisphere in June. Winter Solstice is celebrating December 21st.
Winter solstice, also known as Yule is observed and celebrated by many religions and belief systems. It’s also celebrated by certain regions since it marks an important time in the year.
Celebrated in cultures around the world, it is the start of the solar year. Celebrating light and the rebirth of the sun.
Below are many different traditions of celebrating Winter Solstice.
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Traditional Glögg (Swedish Mulled Wine)
While many versions of this Scandinavian yuletide punch exist, every rendition invariably calls for red wine, orange peel, clove and cardamom. If you’re pressed for time, prepare this drink one day early and reheat it before serving.
½ cup sugar
2 cinnamon sticks, broken in half
4 whole cloves
6 cardamom pods, crushed
1 orange peel, cut into strips
1 ginger root, peeled and cut in half
1 cup brandy
2 cups Pinot Noir, or other light-bodied red wine
2 cups Port
Raisins, for garnish
Blanched almonds, for garnish
In a large pot, combine the sugar with 1 cup of water. Over high heat, stir the liquid with a wooden spoon until the sugar is completely dissolved, and then bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium, and add the cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, orange peel and ginger. Stir again, keeping the liquid at a simmer.
Add the brandy, wine and Port. Taste the punch, and add additional sugar or spice to taste. Strain and ladle into mugs. Garnish with almonds and raisins, and serve warm. Serves 6.
Yule herbs are used to decorate the home. Green, red and white are yule colors. Hang a sprig of mistletoe above a major threshold and leave it there until next Yule as a charm for good luck throughout the year. Have family/household members join together to make or purchase an evergreen wreath. Include holiday herbs in it and then place it on your front door to symbolize the continuity of life and the wheel of the year. If you choose to have a living or a harvested evergreen tree as part of your holiday decorations.
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Yule feast can last for more than one day. The ancient Roman Saturnalia festival sometimes went on for a week. Have Winter Solstice Eve and Day be the central focus for your household.
Decorate your home with herbs and spices. Make decorating a family event and share you traditions with your children.