Traditionally, pagans celebrated the winter solstice, or Yule to pay homage to the Sun King’s journey to restore light to the world after the longest night of the year. It both marks the start of the dark winter months, and celebrates that every day forward will be a little brighter.
Since this year’s solstice is next Wednesday, the 21st, here are a few quiet, relaxing ways to celebrate next week.
Make Dried Oranges
I shared instructions for drying orange slices last year, and you can use them to decorate in several ways. One way is to thread them with a little string or spare ornament hook and hang them on your Christmas tree as ornaments. The lights will make them glow gorgeous sunset hues.
Another way to use them is by decorating a solstice wreath. I ultimately bought a fake wreath to attach mine too (I’ll redecorate it every year!) but you could follow the instructions here for making one with live greenery and a wire hanger.
Eat by Candlelight
Yule is all about celebrating the slow return of sunlight and longer days, so fire figures heavily into traditional celebrations. An easy way to incorporate that in the modern world is to turn off all your lights at dinner time, and eat by candle light.
The more formal version of this ritual is to write down on a small piece paper, in red ink, either something you want to leave behind in the old year. Then you burn the paper with a red candle.
Even if you’re short a red candle or pen, writing down and burning or tearing up something you want to let go of feels more affirming then a mere verbal declaration.
Greet the Sun
Traditionally, you would stay up until sunrise to great the sun and celebrate the end of the longest night of the year. If all- nighters aren’t your thing, consider a sunrise walk, some sunrise yoga, or settling into a comfortable spot by a window with a cup of you favorite coffee to watch the morning light disperse the night.