“At the midwinter solstice comes the shortest day. This is the darkest time of year in the northern hemisphere. We experience this in our lives as hardship – it’s cold and dark, we can feel alone and bereft. At this time of outer darkness, we can feel challenged within ourselves to find light.” – From “Celebrating Irish Festivals: Calendar of Seasonal Celebrations” by Ruth Marshall, Hawthorne Press
Many Waldorf resources actually do not mention celebrating the Solstice at all. However, mention can be found in the book, “Celebrating Irish Festivals: Calendar of Seasonal Celebrations” by Ruth Marshall as noted above. This is tied to the Irish mounds of Newgrange, Knowth and Dowth. Newgrange in particular is noted as being older than the Egyptian pyramids. The entrance of Newgrange is aligned with the position of the sunrise on the shortest day of the year, the Winter Solstice. The interior carvings of the innermost chamber are illuminated by light on this very special day!
This book suggests rising early to greet the dawn and to watch the sunrise together. However, I know many families who celebrate either the Eve of the Solstice (as Heather over at Beauty That Moves details beautifully in this recent post. ) or the night of Solstice itself. Some families will have a party complete with yellow foods, live fun music and dancing! I also know families who celebrate with tea outside. I ran through the different Winter festivals, including a mention of Solstice in this back post.
Some families will dip candles on this special day, or make lanterns or hold a big bonfire! Sun catchers could be lovely as well if the temperatures are enough to freeze things in your area! This could also be a wonderful day to hold a Winter/Advent Spiral, which I detail in several back posts.
This year, we plan to celebrate the shortest day of the year by being outside, and also by baking a beautiful yellow bread. The book “The Sun Bread” by Kleven promises to be a favorite. I also want to sing! Jodie Mesler has a new “Make Way For King Winter” songbook out with several songs that could be used for the Winter Solstice. You can see her website for more details. Jodie is a great encouragement for families looking to bring season music into their family life. The other thing I would like to do is make some simple treats for the birds, and pomanders for inside our home (pomanders remind me of the book, “The Sun Egg” by Elsa Beskow!)
I would love to hear your wonderful plans.
Blessings and love,