In a season brimming with celebrations, we generally overlook the granddaddy of them all- Winter Solstice. Predating most present spiritual holidays, the shortest day of the yr was as soon as an important annual occasion marked by feasting, gatherings and consuming. Now, with a resurgence of recognition in recent times, you possibly can get pleasure from Winter Solstice virtually in every single place, with celebrations that run the gamut from reflective to raucous.

Just in case your recollection of astronomy fundamentals is now as dim as say- a distant galaxy- right here’s a fast rationalization of this seasonal change: In the northern hemisphere the earth tilts to the most distant level away from the solar in mid to late December (December 21 this yr), leading to the least quantity of daytime. In the southern hemisphere the similar occasion happens in June. Or extra cleverly expressed: “axial tilt is the reason for the season!”

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The seasonal change for us can imply the inconvenience of going to work and returning dwelling in darkness, however our ancestors marked the annual cycles for survival. The mating of animals, administration of crops and rhythms of climate have been life-sustaining. The encroaching winter was a time to protect the autumn harvest, beautify houses with evergreens to thrust back evil spirits and symbolize the coming spring, and ferment beer and wine for the lengthy winter forward. So it’s no marvel that on the longest night time of the yr, the communal gatherings included ceremonies of sunshine, hope and renewal.

This winter, no matter your fashion, you possibly can embrace a aware celebration of nature and group in your vacation line-up. Catch the solstice spirit in large occasions like the Winter Solstice Lantern Festival in Vancouver, the place over 20,000 hardy Canadians courageous the lengthy winter’s night time in a lightweight stuffed celebration of hope, or be part of a reflective solstice dawn observance at Stonehenge. Or should you discover you’ve had fairly sufficient of the season’s bustle, you possibly can brew a steaming kettle of tea-infused wassail and share a pot-luck supper and a heat hearth with a number of shut mates.

 

Lantern podsPhoto by Paul VanDerWerf

Usage license for each photos – CC BY 2.0


Winter Solstice Wassail Tea

  • 2 teaspoons SerendipiTea Winter Solstice Tea
  • 1 ½ cup Orange Juice
  • 1 ½ cup Apple Cider
  • 1 cup Lemon Juice
  • 1 ½ cup Sugar
  • 6 Cloves
  • 3 Cinnamon Sticks

Prepare tea with 1 ½ cups of water, steeping for 5 minutes. Strain and put aside. Combine ½ cup sugar, cinnamon and cloves in 2 cups water and produce to a boil. Discard the spices. To the spiced water, add the juices, cider, tea and 1 cup sugar. Stir in 5 cups of boiling water and warmth till the wassail is piping scorching, however not boiling. Serve in mugs garnished with orange slices or cinnamon sticks.


Did You Know

Wassail was initially a scorching mulled cider drunk as an integral a part of wassailing, an historical southern English consuming ritual meant to make sure a very good cider apple harvest the following yr.


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