Happy first winter day everyone! Today, the 21th of December, our winter will officially begin. This is the shortest day of the year, and the darkest. This day brings ancient traditions alive, history and interesting celebrations around the world.
The ancient Romans used to celebrate the winter solstice with a party that they called “Sol Invictus”, a celebration strictly correlated with the rebirth (many think it represented the first form of pagan Christmas). Romans organized feasts and made sacrifices to the Gods, as well as exchange gifts as candles, books and pets.
Winter Solstice is also a very important scientific day: today several scientists have made discoveries that have changed humanity forever. The 21th of December 1898 Marie and Pierre Curie discovered radium, ratifying the beginning of the atomic era.
How I wrote, this day was correlated with the concept of rebirth. But, why? Because in ancient times the winter season unfortunately coincided with a period of starvation and mortality, and this day sanctioned the end of the dark period and the beginning from the day after and gradually of the return of the light.
In Germanic and Celtic tradition, bonfires were fired up in the woods and people danced around the fire singing songs and having fun. This is the way the Christmas Tree was introduced in tradition, symbolizing life that endures winter and adversities.
Nowadays, many are celebrating around the world this particular day, someone at home with friends and family, someone into the woods or around a bonfire in the cold, but ancient celebrations are less and less commemorated. Whatever you’ll do today, have a great day. 😀