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20 December 2012 @ 08:05 pm
So do you celebrate the solstice? If so, how?

As I've gotten older and perhaps more sentimental--or perhaps less capitalistic (despite having loads of stuff...)--I've found myself increasingly inclined to mark it somehow. At the moment, my only particular habit is straight out of TIGANA: I light a candle on the Ember Days to, er, defy the gods. Because that makes sense. :)

(I just said so to Guy Gavriel Kay on Twitter. He says he'll now feel responsible if there are any lightning strikes in my neighborhood. *laughs*)

Anyway, though I rather love the idea of staying up all night to guide the sun back home, bahahaha no. Similarly with a candle in the window for the same purposes, but the paranoid in me isn't comfortable with leaving it burning with nobody to keep an eye on it.

I've left it a little late for this year, but I'd like to develop some kind of family ritual of a meal and...gifts that are not so much for ourselves as things to make the world a little better place. Donations to Heifer International, or support for something like the Dublin Urban Rooftop Farm initiative, which just successfully funded. Go out that day to buy gifts for local childrens' charities. Things like that.

I'd also like to make the meal something...not run of the mill. Someone on Twitter does era-determined themes (this year she's doing an Elizabethan feast!), and I think something like that, or something with an international focus on foods, would be really wonderful.

Anyway, so do you have solstice traditions? What kinds?
Current Mood: thoughtfulthoughtful
T. Revst_rev on December 20th, 2012 08:12 pm (UTC)
I like Christmas. I don't like the way Christianity keeps trying to hijack it, but I like the music, the decorations, the feasting, the mythology. All wholesomely pagan.
GM Ceosanna: Prettyceosanna on December 20th, 2012 08:15 pm (UTC)
Yes, this.
kitmizkit on December 20th, 2012 08:40 pm (UTC)
I like Christmas too, and have no intention of ceasing to observe it. But I want to do something for the solstice, too. :)
T. Revst_rev on December 20th, 2012 08:50 pm (UTC)
Make it 12 days long, that's traditional too!
Deborah Blakedeborahblakehps on December 20th, 2012 08:30 pm (UTC)
I'm a practicing Pagan (brought up Jewish, so the Christian traditions were never anything I knew much about), so Yule/the Winter Solstice is my holiday :-)

Every year my group has a Yule dinner party, including kids and husbands. We put all the leaves in my table so we are actually all sitting together, and everyone brings a dish. This year we are doing turkey with all the trimmings (my friend Robin's 4 year old son just learned to make homemade cranberry sauce, and is very proud of himself). We also drink "blissini's" which are one third prosecco, pomegranate juice, and OJ--also very festive.

We take a piece of wood from my property and make a Yule log out of it (by drilling holes for candles in the top, and also taking turns decorating it...they're um...usually very eclectic). Then we each light a candle to symbolize the light in the darkness, and make a wish for the coming year.

Then feasting, presents, and much merriment!
mevennenmevennen on December 20th, 2012 08:35 pm (UTC)
We're pagan, obviously, but like most years, the solstice is too busy for us to be able to do much to mark it ourselves (tomorrow, for instance, which is our own handfasting anniversary, we're heading in opposite directions to conduct separate h/fastings for other people). I will be taking down last year's bunch of mistletoe, however, putting it on the fire and putting up the fresh bunch. We are cooking a roast (venison) but it's accidental.

But Christmas is the big one for us - we're closing on Xmas Eve and going for lunch this year, before a pretty traditional Xmas Day. It's about the only 3 straight days we can take off, so we are making the most of it.
martianmooncrabmartianmooncrab on December 20th, 2012 08:45 pm (UTC)
put up this years God... ususally horned, doesnt have to be too big, or even accurate, just something with horns. (the Woodstock ornament with antlers last year was just fine)
Laura Anne Gilmansuricattus on December 20th, 2012 08:46 pm (UTC)
When I had a fireplace, I used to pick the largest, most seasoned log we had, and light it at dusk, keeping it going until we went to sleep and then saving an ember overnight.

These days I don't have any particular tradition, but I'm feeling the need to mark it, this year....

Mary Anne: pixelpers1stence on December 20th, 2012 09:32 pm (UTC)
A number of my neighbors have faux candles in every window of the house, which leads me to believe that they are either using electric ones or maybe battery-operated ones,,,,might that work, getting the idea across without the fire hazard?
dreamerfound: dreaming of himwyldreamer on December 20th, 2012 10:26 pm (UTC)
I usually try to do a nice dinner and we open one present each on the solstice. I also like doing a pineapple upside down cake for dessert because I feel there is something really solar about how it looks and also so tasty!
dancinghorse: spiraldancinghorse on December 20th, 2012 10:58 pm (UTC)
We do the dinner and the fire and the mulled cider. Big gang of people over to my mom's for a potluck, but it's my cooking break because I do so much of it for Camp Lipizzan and the rest of the holidays. I get to eat food that other people cooked. I like it.
dancinghorse: shadowsdancinghorse on December 20th, 2012 10:59 pm (UTC)
Also forgot to add (because I lost my brain cells somewhere today) that tomorrow we are having White Horse Herd Yoga in the morning, to start the day off right.
Geek of Weird Shit: sensualgows on December 21st, 2012 06:30 am (UTC)
I like the sound of that. :)
desperance: lukedesperance on December 20th, 2012 11:38 pm (UTC)
I don't have traditions - for anything: it's hard to be observant when you seldom know the date - but I think I may start some this year. The 21st was my friend Jay's birthday, and he died six months ago; someone needs to mark it for him, and there aren't many of us left. And Saturday has been declared Hogswatch Night, and people are coming to watch Hogfather and feast on many things. I suspect that of being a tradition-in-embryo.
desperance: lukedesperance on December 20th, 2012 11:41 pm (UTC)
(Also, I misread this: to, er, defy the gods. I thought you said to, er, deify the gods. Which seemed, y'know. Redundant. Tautological. Like that...)
Geek of Weird Shit: sensualgows on December 21st, 2012 06:28 am (UTC)
I am more inclined towards solstice, etc. than any other man-made holidays. That being said, by the time winter solstice rolls around, we're usually in high season here. I work on Christmas, Christmas Eve, New Year's Eve, New Year's Day, etc.

Hell, our observation of Hannukah is usually along the lines of "Look! There goes Hannukah! We probably ought to light a candle or something."

I'm with you on the waiting-up-all-night bit. When younger, I'd've done a solstice vigil, but now I'm too old and cantankerous. I like the idea of a special meal, no matter what form it takes. In the past handful of years, Thanksgiving has involved Mediterranean, dim sum, home-raised turkeys, a potluck at another house, and pork raised by our neighbor's son. I think it is the intent, rather than the food consumed, that makes it special.
Janne: jul nissehattjanne on December 21st, 2012 08:54 am (UTC)
I have bought some rechargeable led candles that look amazingly like the real thing,leaving one burning in the window overnight sounds like a plan. I had a visitor who didn't believe me when I said they were fake, even though they were sitting half a meter from them, had to pick them up and look closely to see it wasn't a real flickering flame. Doubt you have Clas Ohlson over there, but it's these: http://www.clasohlson.com/no/LED-telyslampe/Pr363208000 (there are some wax-imitation ones further down on that page that also look amazing.)

I keep muttering that I'd like to move Jul to the 21st rather than 24th, but that will have to wait for the century when the 25th and 26th aren't mandatory public holidays.
kitmizkit on December 21st, 2012 09:24 am (UTC)
Those are terrific fake candles! That's probably the sensible modern day choice, even if it doesn't seem RIGHT somehow. :)
Janne: jul nissehattjanne on December 21st, 2012 10:59 am (UTC)
Afterthought on the special meal for Solstice--to the degree I have a tradition it's eating very bland and boring meals in the week leading up to christmas. Makes one appreciate the christmas dinner all the more.
Liannelianneb on December 21st, 2012 06:41 pm (UTC)
I don't really do anything for the solstice, but on New Year's eve I light a candle and leave it burning overnight.

Mind you, I put the candle in the metal sink, just for safety, which isn't terrible romantic, but at least if it falls over for some strange reason, it won't burn the house down.

Edited at 2012-12-21 06:41 pm (UTC)
katedonovan: last noelkatedonovan on December 22nd, 2012 12:41 am (UTC)
At our house we celebrate the vernal equinox with the standing of the eggs. We don't consciously mark the winter solstice, yet for some reason there's always potato soup a few nights before xmas, so maybe something has lingered.

A candle in the window sounds like the best way to mark the occasion, but the soup has merit too. Both ward off cold and the darkness, so maybe both?

As far as family tradition goes, we have a good one. My mother fervently believed in celebrating Shrove Tuesday by eating pancakes for dinner. Hilariously, she always forgot until Wednesday, so we never actually got any pancakes. We would try to talk her into it, but she didn't really consider pancakes a decent dinner on any other night. So she would just lament while serving us fish, all the while vowing to do better next year. That's what made it the best tradition ever -- the forgetting, followed by the renewed commitment. If only we could have pancakes too, at least once, but it never happened, and so far, I keep forgetting too.
Kira Lucienkira_snugz on December 22nd, 2012 07:56 am (UTC)
Guy Gavriel Kay is on twitter?!?! oooh and you read him!! *HIGH FIVE FOR AWESOME TASTE*

i have a couple traditions, some for sharing with others and some just for me.

I like to get up and greet the sun in the morning and spend some time telling it all the wonderful moments i spent in its company over the past year. i've taken time to do a list of one awesome sun filled moment from every month, but sometimes its just off the cuff. depends on what kind of year its been

Family wise we take some time to have orange juice (someone used to call it bottled sunlight) and talk about all the things that happen as the seasons pass. We have gifts every other year (and gifts on christmas on the off years).

I light a candle as the sun is setting, "as your light springs from fire, so does mine" and when i go to bed, it is the last light left on in the house, (it comes into the bedroom) and before i go to bed i blow it out "as you fade into night, so does this flame, but you will rise again in the morning, light against the darkness, the hope of all things."

I hope you had a blessed solstice! and that your tradition planning goes well.
cypherindigo on December 22nd, 2012 06:52 pm (UTC)
My copy of "No Dominion" and stuff arrived today. The image is even better in person!