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?