Our online shop is currently closed for maintenance. Please email us if you require help.

Glastonbury
Information
Centre

what-does-winter-solstice-celebrate
19 Dec 2023

What does Winter Solstice celebrate?

Winter Solstice marks the shortest day and the longest night of the year. As nature slows down in winter, the solstice becomes a time for personal reflection, rest and looking forward to the gradual increase in light each day.

The Winter Solstice marks the shortest day and the longest night of the year. It occurs when the Earth’s axial tilt is farthest from the sun, causing the sun to appear at its lowest point in the sky. Many people across the world celebrate the Winter Solstice.

The Winter Solstice usually takes place around December 21st or 22nd in the Northern Hemisphere. In the Southern Hemisphere, it occurs around June 21st or 22nd. As nature slows down in winter, the solstice becomes a time for personal reflection, rest and looking forward to the gradual increase in light each day.

The shortest day is a good time to recognise that the next festival will be Imbolc, the first sign of new life. Therefore the solstice can be seen as a time for letting go of anything we no longer need. Light a fire (inside or out) and pass round a basket of sticks, to represent something you wish to let go of from the old year. Saying this out loud gives it strength as each person throws their stick in the fire.

Many modern-day celebrations, like Yule, have roots in ancient winter solstice festivities. The Yule log (often a chocolate cake nowadays) was a log from the solstice fire kept from one year to the next and used to light the first fire of the following winter to ensure good fortune.

Traditionally evergreens are brought into the house at the Solstice, especially Yew and Holly. Always remember to cut with respect for the plant and the land and to leave berries for the birds. Another tradition, which is traditional at Christmas but stems from far older ways of celebrating winter solstice, is that of making wheels of evergreens or wreaths, within which you anchor your hopes and dreams for the new cycle. It may take the form of a wreath to hang on the door, or it may be laid horizontally with places for candles. Add sparkly beads to catch the light symbolising the return of light and hold a wish.

Festivals in different religions have celebrations of light – Diwali, Christmas, St Lucia feast. Lighting candles for the ‘Return of the Sun’ is an old tradition at this time, as is making resolutions to begin the new cycle. All sit around a single candle in a large bowl of sand, with all lights off. Each lights a candle and pushes it in the sand, and names their new intention.

Share this post

Related posts

What is Imbolc? Snowdrops are a key symbol of Imbolc
29 Jan 2024
Imbolc, celebrated around February 1st or 2nd marks the halfway point between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox. It is a Celtic festival that signifies the early signs of spring and the awakening of the earth from its winter slumber.
Samhain in Glastonbury
23 Oct 2023
Samhain is the end and the beginning of the Celtic New Year, an affirmation of rebirth in the midst of death and darkness, the end and death of the old year, bringing opportunity for renewal and new beginnings.
https___cdn.evbuc.com_images_591567929_1677321260403_1_original
25 Sep 2023
Queen Elizabeth II’s unprecedented Platinum Jubilee anniversary was a wonderful opportunity for Glastonbury to celebrate our unique association and relationship with the Royal Family of this sceptred isle.
How to celebrate Autumn Equinox
20 Sep 2023
The Autumn Equinox is a moment of balance and reflection. It invites us to celebrate the harvest, embrace gratitude, and seek equilibrium in our lives.
People climbing Glastonbury Tor for Summer Solstice in Glastonbury
9 Jun 2023
Celebrate the Summer Solstice in Glastonbury, a time of transition and renewal. Head to Glastonbury Tor for sunrise and embrace the beautiful flowing symmetry of nature’s cycles.
May Day Celebrations Glastonbury
24 Apr 2023
Join the dragon procession on the High street and witness the ceremony at Tor Fair Field during the May Day celebrations in Glastonbury.
Is Stonehenge near Glastonbury?
3 Feb 2023
The distance between Glastonbury and Stonehenge is about 40 miles as the crow flies and slightly longer by road. Driving time is just over 1 hour via A303.
fresh-vegetables
2 Jul 2022
Here in Glastonbury, we are blessed to have many different events over the course of the year. We have faerie balls and May Day parades, zombie walks and an annual, world-renowned Goddess Conference.
Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury Festival
26 Jun 2022
Visitors to the Centre are always surprised when they find out that Glastonbury Festival, the world-famous pop concert in a field which attracts around 210,000 people from all around the globe, is not actually here in Glastonbury.
clothes-on-a-rail
15 Jun 2022
Shopping in Glastonbury is a unique experience compared to most other market towns in England. It used to be said that you could buy all the ingredients you needed for a spell, but don’t bother trying to find a pair of socks!

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience possible on our site.

Skip to content