The Holiday Season


It goes by many different names. The Holidays. The Festive Season. Yuletide. Winter Holidays. The Christmas Season. Advent. The Holiday Season. While there is no official start or end, in North America it is generally considered to run from American Thanksgiving, through December, and into the New Year.

Traditionally this season of the year was dominated by observances based on the Winter Solstice. Many cultures around the northern hemisphere developed celebrations that emphasize the contrast of the cold and darkness of winter with the promise of new light and life in the coming year.

These themes are central to the holy days and festivals of many faiths today.

In North America and Europe during the Christian Era, the season focused on holy days and the rituals around the Nativity of Christ. Often the traditional winter solstice festivals of the Celts, Saxons, Vikings and others were taken over by these Christmas celebrations.

For some, the season is secular in nature, without religious emphasis. The Holiday Season is a time for celebrating with family and friends, giving gifts, reflecting on the past year and looking forward to the new.

For many the Holiday Season can be about all of the above, as we combine a variety of traditions and new practices from the delightful mix of cultures and peoples from around the world.

There many different and wonderful Holidays and Holy Days in the coming weeks. Christmas tends to dominate, but it is imporant to learn about other observances and festivals, such as Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Rohatsu and many more.

Join us in the School Library as we celebrate this “most wonderful time of the year.” Look for displays and other opportunities for learning about this season of “Holidays and Holy Days.”

Enjoy all that you and your family have brought to this holiday season. Perhaps in learning about other traditions and practices, you might find something new for you to enjoy at this time of year.

The Winter Solstice and Yule (December 21)

source: Wikimedia Commons / CC

The days of Fall grow shorter and shorter, and in the Northern Hemisphere the month of December is dark and cold. The low point is the Winter Solstice, December 21st, the shortest day of the year.

In traditional pagan cultures, this time of the year represented the battle between darkness and light, between life and death.  Death and darkness seem to be winning through this season. On the Solstice, the dark and cold had reached its nadir. Henceforth the days would grow longer and warmer. The darkness gives way to light, and death gives way to life. Hope is restored.

Many of the festivals and celebrations that take place at this time of year, from many different cultures, follow this theme.  Yule was celebrated by many peoples of northern pre-Christian Europe, including the Celts, and such Germanic groups as the Angles, Saxons, Danes and Norse.  Like many of the pagan holidays, Yule was adapted by Christian Europe and incorporated into Christmas traditions. However, followers of neopagan religions, such as Wicca, have re-established Yule as a distinct celebration.

Find out more:

For more on this and other winter observances and feasts, check out our display, “Holidays and Holy Days,” and books such as:

The Winter Solstice and Yule (December 21)

source: Wikimedia Commons / CC

The days of Fall grow shorter and shorter, and in the Northern Hemisphere the month of December is dark and cold. The low point is the Winter Solstice, December 21st, the shortest day of the year.

In traditional pagan cultures, this time of the year represented the battle between darkness and light, between life and death.  Death and darkness seem to be winning through this season. On the Solstice, the dark and cold had reached its nadir. Henceforth the days would grow longer and warmer. The darkness gives way to light, and death gives way to life. Hope is restored.

Many of the festivals and celebrations that take place at this time of year, from many different cultures, follow this theme.  Yule was celebrated by many of the Germanic peoples of northern pre-Christian Europe, including such groups as the Angles, Saxons, Danes and Norse.  Like many of the pagan holidays, Yule was adapted by Christian Europe and incorporated into Christmas traditions. However, followers of neopagan religions, such as Wicca, have re-established Yule as a distinct celebration.

Find out more:

For more on this and other winter observances and feasts, check out our display, “Holidays and Holy Days,” and books such as:

 

 

Winter Solstice and Yule

source: Wikimedia Commons / CC

Winter begins in the northern hemisphere on this, the shortest day of the year. In traditional pagan cultures, this time of the year represented darkness giving way to light, and death giving way to life. The dark and cold had reached its nadir. Henceforth the days would grow longer and warmer. Hope was restored. Many of the festivals and celebrations that take place at this time of year, from many different cultures, follow this theme.

For more on this and other winter observances and feasts, check out our display: Holidays and Holy Days.

Winter Solstice and Yule

source: Wikimedia Commons / CC

Winter begins in the northern hemisphere on this, the shortest day of the year. In traditional pagan cultures, this time of the year represented darkness giving way to light, and death giving way to life. The dark and cold had reached its nadir. Henceforth the days would grow longer and warmer. Hope was restored. Many of the festivals and celebrations that take place at this time of year, from many different cultures, follow this theme.

For more on this and other winter observances and feasts, check out our display: Holidays and Holy Days.

Winter Solstice and Yule

source: Wikimedia Commons / CC

The Winter Solstice occurs a 8:49 PM on December 21st in the Pacific Time Zone.

Winter begins in the northern hemisphere on this, the shortest day of the year. In traditional pagan cultures, this time of the year represented darkness giving way to light, and death giving way to life. The dark and cold had reached its nadir. Henceforth the days would grow longer and warmer. Hope was restored. Many of the festivals and celebrations that take place at this time of year, from many different cultures, follow this theme.

For more on this and other winter observances and feasts, check out our display: Holidays and Holy Days, and check out the following:

 

Winter Solstice and Yule

source: Wikimedia Commons / CC

Winter begins in the northern hemisphere on this, the shortest day of the year. In traditional pagan cultures, this time of the year represented darkness giving way to light, and death giving way to life. The dark and cold had reached its nadir. Henceforth the days would grow longer and warmer. Hope was restored. Many of the festivals and celebrations that take place at this time of year, from many different cultures, follow this theme.

For more on this and other winter observances and feasts, check out our display: Holidays and Holy Days.

Winter Solstice and Yule

source: Wikimedia Commons / CC

Winter begins in the northern hemisphere on this, the shortest day of the year. In traditional pagan cultures, this time of the year represented darkness giving way to light, and death giving way to life. The dark and cold had reached its nadir. Henceforth the days would grow longer and warmer. Hope was restored. Many of the festivals and celebrations that take place at this time of year, from many different cultures, follow this theme.

For more on this and other winter observances and feasts, check out our display: Holidays and Holy Days.