Celebrate Winter, the Season of Light

The natural ways to celebrate the winter holidays.

| November/December 1999


Winter is a time for introspection, and the winter holidays offer an ideal opportunity for reevaluating our spiritual traditions. For a fresh perspective, focus on the natural cycle of lightness and darkness celebrated in many holidays at this time of year. Light is a symbol of hope and renewal in all cultures and religions. Before electricity, festivals and other celebrations helped people pass through the dark season and reminded them that warmth and longer days would come again.

Celebrate the winter solstice on December 21, and the return of lengthening days by burning a Yule log. Or have a quiet candle­light ceremony that focuses on renewal and fresh starts.

Rethink the significance of your Christmas wreath. Meditate on its representation of nature’s eternal cycle of ­seasons.

Offer tribute to St. Lucia, the Saint of Light, who is honored by the Swedes because they live without the sun for several months a year. On December 13 the oldest daughter of the house, wearing a candle wreath on her head, wakes the family with a song about the returning light. She then serves them coffee and saffron-flavored rolls.

To celebrate Chanukah, the Jewish festival of Lights, light up your home for eight days with homemade or store-bought menorahs.

Evergreens in the Home

In the ancient world, evergreen plants and trees were brought indoors to remind the inhabitants that, even in winter, life is present and constantly renewing.

elderberry, echinacea, bee hive


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