At exactly 11:19pm Eastern time on Saturday, December 21st, 2019, the northern hemisphere will experience the winter solstice. Most of us know this as the shortest day of the year. This is when the sun appears lowest in the sky as the Earth axis tilts away from the sun.
Art by Diana Renjina
For centuries, before many of the other most popular winter holidays, the Solstice was celebrated by ancient cultures all over the world. Honoring the turning of the seasons in the wheel of the year was as natural as breathing.
I honor the sun and all of nature when I celebrate the Winter Solstice.
How to Celebrate the Solstice
The Winter Solstice, also called Mid-Winter or Yule, is a celebration of the return of the sun. Before humans understood the science behind the rotation of the earth, the turning of the seasons seemed magical. But even with a scientific understanding, the Solstice can still be filled with symbolism and celebration.
Throughout countries in northern Europe, where winter days are even shorter than here in Asheville NC, celebrations include a vigil to welcome the rising sun. Lighting a fire or a candle in the darkest night symbolizes the return of the light. Or, as Arlo Guthrie put it, “You can’t have a light without a dark to stick it in.”
As with many winter holiday traditions, feasting is often incorporated into Solstice traditions. And your celebration doesn’t have to be confined to the 21st. In fact, cultures from around the world host week long festivals and feasts during the season.
Global Winter Traditions
Many of our Winter Solstice traditions come from northern Europe, since the night is so much longer in the north. But cultures all over the world have honored the Winter Solstice and many still do today.
The Romans celebrated Saturnalia, a multi-day feast. In Scandinavian countries, St. Lucia’s Day honors the Christian martyr, but the celebration incorporates many of the ancient Norse traditions. Even today, annual traditions include lighting fires and the iconic crown of candles worn by young girls dressed in white.
It’s also important to note that the Winter Solstice doesn’t happen this time of year in the southern hemisphere. While we’re celebrating the longest night, people in South America, Australia, South Africa and beyond are experiencing the Summer Solstice, or the longest day of the year. Their winter traditions occur in June.
To learn more about celebrations around the world, here’s a great introduction.
A New Home for the Holidays
While you’re celebrating the Solstice, Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah or any other winter holiday, you’re probably not thinking too much about buying your next home or preparing your current one for sale. But this time, at the end of the year, is perfect to start making a plan.
If you want to buy a home in 2020, start now by taking a look at your finances. Check your credit score and make sure you’re not buying too many things over the holidays that could negatively affect your ability to buy a home. We also recommend you talk to a mortgage lender as soon as possible to better understand where you are financially and what your home buying budget is.
If you’re thinking about selling a home, you can make a checklist of things you need to fix improve. While you’re sorting out your decorations, you’ll see parts of your home differently than you do at other times of the year. Start making a list to help you stay organized as soon as the celebrations are over.
I think of the Winter Solstice as a time for reflection. It’s a time to turn inward, like the sun itself, preparing for a rebirth in the springtime. How will you celebrate the winter solstice this year?
As you make this transition into the New Year, I would Be honored to support you with either you’re buying or selling process here in AVL, or am happy to refer you to a great realtor anywhere in the country.
Thank you and Many Blessings for 2020 and Beyond,
Real Estate Agent with New Earth AVL Realty in Asheville North Carolina
PS. Would love for you to share your thoughts or feelings in the comments below. And please feel free to share this post with your family and friends on your social media accounts.