The history of the winter solstice celebrations – Le Courant

The winter solstice, also known as the hibernation solstice, is the point in the northern hemisphere where the sun is at the southernmost point of the sky. Usually the winter solstice is on December 21 or 22. Due to the position of the sun, the winter solstice is the longest night and the shortest day of the year.

According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, “When the winter solstice occurs in the northern hemisphere, the North Pole is tilted approximately 23.4 ° (23 ° 27 ′) relative to the Sun. Because the sun’s rays are shifted south from the equator by the same amount, the vertical noon rays are directly above the tropic of Capricorn (23 ° 27 ′ S). The winter solstice marks the start of the astronomical season of winter.

The winter solstice has been celebrated as a major astronomical event throughout history and across cultures. Here are some winter solstice celebrations from around the world and their history.

Saint Lucia Day

Saint Lucia Day is a Scandinavian holiday celebrated in Sweden, Norway, and parts of Finland. Although this holiday is not a direct celebration of the winter solstice, it is celebrated on December 13 and marks the Christmas period in the Scandinavian countries.

Saint Lucia or Saint Lucia is one of the first Christian martyrs to be killed in Italy in the third century. Saint Lucia is considered the patron saint of light and sight. Thus, his feast is celebrated with light shows, including candles and bonfires.

Saturnalia

Saturnalia is a pagan Roman festival that was held to honor the god of agriculture and time, Saturn. The Saturnalia festivities took place from December 17 to 24.

According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, “A false king has been chosen (Saturnalicius princeps); the seasonal salute io Saturnalia was heard everywhere. The closing days of the Saturnalia were known as Sigillaria, due to the custom of making, towards the end of the festival, gifts of candles, wax fruit models and wax statuettes which were fashioned by the sigillarii. or makers of small wax figures. and other media. The cult statue of Saturn himself, traditionally tied to the feet with bands of wool, has been detached, presumably to go out and join in the fun.

The Saturnalia festivities have been described as similar to modern Mardi Gras celebrations. The Saturnalia feasts were marked by days off, gambling, feasts and the exchange of gifts. In addition to Germanic Christmas traditions, there are many modern Christmas traditions that stem from the Saturnalia festivities, including light shows and gifts. In addition, certain traditions of the Saturnalia can be the origin of the New Year celebrations.


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