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solstice-rituals

If you’re a little bit woo-woo, don’t have a clue, or keen to learn something new, keep reading to find out how you can celebrate the upcoming solstice.

| By Antonia Day | Entertainment

The Solstice Is Here! How to Celebrate the Shortest Day of the Year

If you’re a little bit woo-woo, don’t have a clue, or keen to learn something new, keep reading to find out how you can celebrate the upcoming solstice.

For the past 6000 years, people all over the world have celebrated the solstice. Celebrations involved setting whole trees on fire and letting them burn for a day, decorating bushes with candles and ornaments to thank the earth for the life it gives, and gathering healing herbs that grew in abundance.

Nowadays, you'd probably struggle to find a group of people gathered around a burning tree chanting, and if you did happen to stumble upon an event like that, your first instinct might be to call the police (or stream it to your Insta-stories, depending on your personal proclivity).

While we don't condone setting giant trees on fire, we thought we'd suggest some modern ways to celebrate this ancient tradition.

When it comes to the solstice, people’s interest and engagement levels fall on a scale. At one end we have the “woo-woo-ers”, who might spend each full moon charging their crystals, and mark the solstice in their calendar as an opportunity to celebrate and set intentions. At the other end, are the people who don’t have a clue any of this is going on. They might complain of getting a rough night’s sleep the evening before the full moon but wouldn’t dare blame it on that, and roll their eyes when they see a monthly horoscope article. And then there are the people in the middle – they know what’s going on, they are keen to know more, but don’t go out of their way to seek information.

No matter where you land on the solstice scale, we’ve got an array of ideas for you to say hello to the new season. So if you’re a little bit woo-woo, don’t have a clue, or keen to learn something new – keep reading to find out how you can celebrate this solstice.

Winter Solstice Rituals

Woo-woo

Create a Yule altar

Welcome the astronomical first day of winter by creating an altar that honours Mother Nature herself. Decorate your altar with pieces of nature, and finally finish it off by cleansing it with sage or sweetgrass.

Burn a Yule log

The burning of a yule log stems from a Nordic tradition where a whole tree was put into the fire and set alight for 12 days. We’re modernising this a bit by only burning a single log that represents the whole tree, and only letting it burn for the evening – we don’t want any fire hazards in our home!

Decorate trees

Don’t have space for a fire? Head outside and decorate the trees around you. In old pagan traditions, trees were decorated outside with candles and ornaments – similar to Christmas trees in homes.

Hesitant, but intrigued

Give back to nature

The winter solstice is the perfect time to celebrate the natural world. Make time for a walk in nature or to simply sit outside and breathe in the fresh air that surrounds you.

Get cosy by a fire

Whether it’s inside or outdoors, sitting by a fire either by yourself or with family and friends is a beautiful way to welcome the start of winter.

Put on a spread for friends and family

The evening of the winter solstice will be one of the longest evenings of the year due to the sun setting earlier. This is the perfect time to sit around your dining table enjoying a warm meal with family and friends as you welcome in the cooler months.

Solstice sceptic

Light a candle

It’s a simple task but a symbolic one. Lighting a candle in your home will evoke a sense of warmth and cosiness into your space – perfect for welcoming winter.

Play a game

The sun will be setting earlier during the winter solstice, so why not have a few friends over to watch a movie (or two – trust us, you’ll have the time).

Run a bath

Welcome winter with a spot of self-care by letting your worries soak away in a warm bath. If you're feeling adventurous, add some Epsom salts and light a candle for ultimate relaxation.

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