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Happy Winter Solstice
December 23, 2012

Did You Know?
Ancient people worshiped the sun.

That’s so true! In fact, longer days marked the victory of light over darkness. Children jumped over a fire and did circle dances. They wanted to do things to represent the sun! And this was all to celebrate longer days after the Winter Solstice.

• In Scotland, they would roll a barrel down the street that was covered in tar and set burning!

• In Europe, people wore costumes with parades, singing and a huge shared meal. Some people went into the woods and gathered mistletoe as part of the party. The happiness of the first person to enter a house determined the happiness of the household for the whole year!  (so the story goes)

• The French provinces had costume balls with colorful processions and live music.

• And cool solar (sun) images can be found on the monuments of Egypt, India, Mexico, Gaul, Scandinavia and Buddhist monasteries.

• The first Winter Solstice was identified in China and is now a traditional Chinese holiday. The winter solstice is considered a lucky day! On this day, everyone – from the emperor to the common man – goes on vacation. The army is on holiday, people visit each other’s homes and give each other gifts.

• For the Winter Solstice, Taiwan tradition remembers ancestors with a ritual sacrifice of an ornately decorated nine-cake made with rice flour. Afterwards, they have a feast of celebration.

 Happy Winter Solstice! What are your fun traditions? Do you know any other myths? 


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