Winter Solstice at Stonehenge

winter soltice at stonehenge broader view

Today, December 21, 2014 is the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year north of the Equator. Tonight will be the longest night of the year. This year’s winter solstice will begin at 6:03 p.m. EST (3:03 P.M. PST). When the sun is exactly overhead the Tropic of Capricorn tonight, it will happen at 23:03 UTC. From earth, its position makes it seem to stand still. Solstice comes from the Latin word solstitium which means the sun stands still.

One of the most famous celebrations of the winter solstice takes place in the ancient ruins of Stonehenge, England. Thousands of people gather to chant, dance, and sing until sunrise. The all night vigil is to make certain that the sun will rise again at the end of the longest night. Another custom is to burn a Yule log or to bake a yule log-shaped cake. If you have a fireplace, build a fire in it or if you have no fireplace, light a special candle. Since the solstice symbolizes the regeneration of life with the longer days beginning, celebrations with feasting are common. The Caribbean tradition is a street festival and masquerade similar to our Mardi Gras.

Solstice celebrations and traditions would make an interesting backdrop for a short story or a chapter in a novel.

Are you celebrating the winter solstice?  I am lighting candles.

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Published by

timetowritenow

For over twenty-five years, I've taught elementary grades, high school, and county special education classes. Now I am a field supervisor for teachers working toward their teaching credentials. I also teach writing classes in Dublin and Pleasanton, California. I have won 5 awards in short story contests, My stories are published in The California Writers Club Literary Review, and several anthologies including four times in Las Positas College collections. I have several book projects, but the two that have my immediate attention are HADA'S FOG, which is women's fiction, LILLI, a YA novel, and NORMAN IN THE PICTURE, a paranormal mystery. I have published an anthology WRITTEN ACROSS THE GENRES that includes writings from members of my writing classes and other writers. It's available on Amazon and Kindle.

One thought on “Winter Solstice at Stonehenge”

  1. I might light a candle tonight; thanks for that alternative. (We have no decent wood for a fire, and it’s already late in the evening.)

    Like

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