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Celebrating the Winter Solstice

Winter Solstice Floral Design

Bring out the Yule Log… it’s time to celebrate the winter solstice! What? You don’t celebrate the winter solstice? You’re not alone. In our modern lives, we’ve moved past celebrating holidays that are closely attached to harvest time.

The Winter Solstice The Sun will appear at its lowest altitude above the horizon at noon and it is the shortest day and longest night of the year. After the solstice, the nights will become shorter and shorter as the warmth of the sun returns.

Winter Solstice Sun CelebrationWhile this may not seem significant today, in the past it was of the utmost importance. People relied on the sun in every aspect of their lives. This holiday has been observed, in someway, by almost every culture in every part of the globe for as far back as we have recorded. You’ve heard of Stonehenge? It was created as a calendar to mark the summer and winter solstices.

(Do you know how your ancestors traditionally celebrated the solstice? Might be a fun project to look up!)

In more recent traditions, the winter solstice is celebrated much like Christmas. Homes were decorated with a Yule Tree (Christmas tree), Yule log, Yule wreath, boughs and garland and cozy fires. If it sounds a lot like Christmas, well, it’s probably where many of our holiday traditions come from.

Get back to your roots, check out this post for ideas on celebrating the winter solstice:
Holiday Celebrations Ideas From The Past: The Winter Solstice

Your local florists would love to help you create some very unique and festive decorations for your winter solstice celebration. Check out the article linked above for some very great ideas you can use in your own home to pay homage to your hard-working harvester ancestors.

Holiday Celebrations Ideas From The Past: The Winter Solstice

Winter Solstice Decorations When we think December holidays, our minds instantly think Christmas. Did you know the oldest and most widely celebrated holiday by different cultures is actually the winter solstice. The winter solstice is celebrated on almost every continent and by almost every culture throughout history. This year the winter solstice is the longest night of the year.

The winter solstice occurs when the Earth’s axial tilt is farthest away from the sun at its maximum of 23°. Meaning “the Sun standing still,” the solstice marks the very first day of winter and is the longest night of the year. To ancient peoples, solstice celebrations were important because they encouraged the sun to return to spring.  No one knows when people started celebrating this event, but we do know it was celebrated in early Mesopotamia with a 12-day festival to their god, Marduk — over 4,000 years ago! Our ancestors certainly put forth an enormous effort to celebrate the winter solstice; just think of Stone Henge! (A perfect marker to the sun at both solstices.)

Recently (and by that I mean in the last 1,600 years, hah!) Christmas has overshadowed the ancient holiday. (Although many Christmas traditions stem from solstice celebrations: yule log, mistletoe, Santa and others.) With our modern lives we’ve lost much of our connection to seasonal events that were so important to our ancestors. This year, take some time to celebrate the winter solstice — throw a unique holiday party… a winter solstice party!

Whether you’re having a huge shindig, or just a family gathering, you cannot celebrate the solstice without fresh foliage. Fresh flowers and green foliage remind us that winter will fade and life will begin to grow again! Traditional winter solstice plants include: oak, mistletoe, evergreens, holly and ivy. Also wheat and harvest-time plants and veggies remind us of how precious our sun is to us. (Great way to recycle Thanksgiving decorations!)

Winter Solstice Event Decor

Another key feature in winter solstice decor is circles. The circle represents the cycle of the seasons, as well as the sun, which makes all life is possible. This can be a great theme throughout your solstice party decorating. Contact your local florist and ask for winter solstice decorations to match your solstice style.

Traditional Solstice Decorations:

Yule Wreath – circle symbolizes the yearly cycles. This is customarily made out of fresh foliage, such as evergreen leaves. [Read more…]