It’s just about dark here in New Hampshire as I write these words. We are beginning the longest night of the year, today is the winter solstice. I’ve always found it fascinating the number of cultures that have stories and festivals that center around this time of year in the coming return of the light.

Winter Solstice Sunset
The Sun Sets - Longest Night of the Year Begins (photo by Wolfgang Staudt)

To me it is extremely significant in the focus in our culture on holidays celebrating light at this time of the year. In my little corner of the world here for most people that’s Christmas, for my family it’s Hanukkah, for others Yule and so many other festivals. Maybe it’s a natural thing that in the time of the year when dark is so pervasive that the celebrations of these festivals tend to focus on expressions of light. The range of these is amazing: the often very secular decorating of houses with spectacular lighting displays, the lighting of the candles or oil in the Hanukkah menorah, the burning of the Yule log and maybe most importantly the gathering of loved ones often around the light of candles or a fire in the fireplace.

Labyrinth of Light
Labyrinth of Light - A Solstice Celebration (photo by Itzafineday)

Imagine, living thousands of years ago, long before we had any understanding of why the seasons change, why the days grow longer and shorter. Imagine how frightening it could have been to notice the days getting shorter and shorter and the nights getting longer and longer, and wondering if the process would ever reverse. No wonder, it became a tradition to hold our loved ones close at this time of the year. Even today, when we have little question that tomorrow will begin the lengthening of days towards the summer solstice, we are still drawn together in the dark time of the year, to celebrate with lights.

new life begins to grow
A gift (photo by Hamed Saber)

I wish you holiday gatherings and celebrations full of light and love!

  • I love to celebrate light. Especially the light within each human being. Nice post 🙂

  • I love to celebrate light. Especially the light within each human being. Nice post 🙂

  • I’m glad the longest day of the year has past… because it means every day it will be getting lighter…. closer to Spring and Summer, which are my favorite seasons. The photo is beautiful. It was cloudy here in Utah so we didn’t get to see the sun setting in the far South. Thanks Andy… lovely post.

  • I’m glad the longest day of the year has past… because it means every day it will be getting lighter…. closer to Spring and Summer, which are my favorite seasons. The photo is beautiful. It was cloudy here in Utah so we didn’t get to see the sun setting in the far South. Thanks Andy… lovely post.

  • Beautiful pictures – it is a light celebration! I had never thought of it that way.

    I wish light and love to you too.

    Sheila

  • Beautiful pictures – it is a light celebration! I had never thought of it that way.

    I wish light and love to you too.

    Sheila

  • admin

    Martha – what a wonderful thought, and I totally agree!

    Kathy – yes – as might as I enjoy night, the return to the seasons of growth is something I always anticipate!

    Sheila – Thanks!

    Love and light to all!!

    Andy

  • admin

    Martha – what a wonderful thought, and I totally agree!

    Kathy – yes – as might as I enjoy night, the return to the seasons of growth is something I always anticipate!

    Sheila – Thanks!

    Love and light to all!!

    Andy