Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Happy Winter Solstice, a day late!

One of the blogs that I regularly follow (Katydid and Kid) reminded me that yesterday was the winter solstice.  I always take that as wonderful news because I know it means the days will start getting longer again.  But, that was about as far as my knowledge went on the subject, so I decided to do a little research.  It is really quite fascinating actually; the winter solstice has been celebrated for thousands of years.
In Ireland the Newgrange Tomb was built over 5,000 years ago in honor of this "astronomical" event.  It is still unknown as to why it was built, but the precision of the engineering is uncanny.  The National Geographic website has a very cool video on it here

As you can see it is a rather massive building where the small farming community that built it put the bones and ashes of their loved ones in a room that is down a very long, narrow hall.  The small door that you can see in this picture allows a shaft of light to shine on those remains at the exact time of the winter solstice.  Simply amazing.
It is, and has been for centuries, a time of celebration and ritual for many cultures.  This is what National Geo said on the solstice and Christmas:
Since ancient times people have marked the winter solstice with countless cultural and religious traditions—it's no coincidence the modern holiday season surrounds the first day of winter.

Early church leaders endeavored to attract pagans to Christianity by adding Christian meaning to existing winter solstice festivals.

"This gave rise to an interesting play on words," Yeide said. "In several languages, not just in English, people have traditionally compared the rebirth of the sun with the birth of the son of God."
I guess I will take that as another excuse to feel happy this holiday season.  The entire universe is coming together to celebrate the season, let's do the same!
Make a miracle today!

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