The December solstice occurs every year between December 20 and December 23 and this year it is on 22, 2023, at 3:27 UTC (December 22 IST). The December solstice, marking the shortest day and longest night of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, is a momentous celestial event celebrated across cultures worldwide. As the sun reaches its southernmost position, heralding the onset of winter, diverse traditions and rituals have evolved to honour this astronomical phenomenon. Here are several time-honoured ways to celebrate and embrace the December solstice.

1. Welcoming Light: Across various cultures, the solstice symbolizes the triumph of light over darkness. Lighting candles, bonfires, or using decorative lights represents the return of the sun's strength and the promise of longer days ahead. In Scandinavian traditions, the Yule log is burned to banish darkness and welcome the sun's return.

2. Communing with Nature: Embrace the natural world by spending time outdoors. From a refreshing sunrise hike to a serene evening walk under the stars, connecting with nature on this celestial day is a cherished tradition. Activities like planting trees or engaging in winter gardening symbolize hope and renewal.

3. Festive Feasts: Gathering with loved ones for a festive meal is a universal way to celebrate the solstice. Incorporate seasonal produce and traditional dishes into your feast, symbolizing the bounty of the harvest and the promise of future growth. Sharing meals and stories fosters bonds and warmth during the cold winter months.

4. Reflective Practices: The solstice is an opportune time for introspection and setting intentions. Engage in meditation, yoga, or personal rituals that encourage self-reflection, gratitude, and setting positive goals for the upcoming year. Writing in a journal or creating vision boards can be powerful tools for introspection and goal-setting. Yule 2023: From 'Burning Yule Log' to Preparing 'Buche De Noel', How To Celebrate This Winter Solstice Tradition Symbolising the Return of Light.

5. Cultural Traditions: Explore diverse cultural traditions associated with the solstice. From the ancient rituals of Stonehenge's sunrise celebrations to the Indigenous ceremonies honoring the solstice’s significance, learning about and participating in these customs can deepen one's appreciation for this celestial event.

6. Craft and Creativity: Engage in arts and crafts to channel creative energies. Making wreaths, crafting ornaments, or creating artwork inspired by the solstice can be a meaningful way to commemorate this celestial event and infuse your home with festive spirit.

The December solstice transcends boundaries, uniting people in acknowledging the celestial dance of our planet. Embracing these traditions not only celebrates the astronomical wonder but also fosters a sense of connectedness with nature, culture, and the cyclical rhythms of life.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Dec 09, 2023 12:39 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website