Sunday, December 19, 2010


Tuesday the 21st is the Winter Solstice.  More specifically, at 6:38 pm EST. This moment, where the earth is farthest away from the sun is a turning point, to midwinter and the gradual lengthening of days as we begin the journey back towards the sun.

Celebrations of Winter Solstice have been traced back thousands of years, and linked to many different cultures.  While somewhere along the way we seem to have lost the connection of celebrating seasonal change, more and more people are seeing the value of including this day in their holiday rituals.  There is something so unifying in observing a day that is celebrated all over the world, no matter what country, culture, or religion you identify with.

There are many simple ways to observe this day.  For my family, Solstice means eating dinner by candlelight to appreciate this shortest night of the year,  then lighting a fire to symbolize the light that we are returning to.  I love throwing some evergreen herbs such as fir, pine, rosemary, and thyme into the fire to fill the house with delicious scents as well. One added bonus this year is that Winter Solstice falls on a total lunar eclipse!

For my yoga students, it means doing a whole lot of sun salutations!  Yogis traditionally go through 108 sun salutations at both summer and winter solstice.  The purpose is to simply create awareness and celebrate the natural cycles of the earth that each of us rely so heavily upon.  And nothing brings awareness (even exhausted awareness) like 108 sun salutations!  Sort of a meditation in motion.  Of course, any amount of sun salutations will do, as long as the intention is there.

How do you celebrate this season (whether it's Solstice or just the Winter season)?

Rituals and traditions are building blocks for strong and happy families; instilling values and creating a sense of family identity.  So no matter what traditions you choose to celebrate this season I wish you much health, wellness, and happiness in the coming year.


Kristin Henningsen, MS, RYT


Sherri said...

I am looking forward to the winter solstice. I love your traditions of eating by candlelight and lighting a fire as a method of celebration.

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Kaplan Center for Health and Wellness
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