by Angela Whichelow
more the Wheel of the Year has turned and Christmas is upon
us but how do those who don’t want to celebrate a Christian
festival go about enjoying the holiday?
is on the 25th December, yet just a few days before, on the
21st, pagans, atheists and their families use the Winter Solstice,
a festival that can be traced back at least as far as Celtic
Solstice is the day when the hours of darkness are at their
longest. From the Solstice onwards, the days lengthen and
the nights shorten.
around the Winter Solstice is a time when we can look forward
to what the rest of the year may hold. In most of the western
world this is done on New Year’s Day when resolutions
are made to achieve new goals, give up bad habits etc. However,
maybe Winter Solstice is a better time for these promises.
look now at some of the other familiar trappings of the Christmas
we all know and love (or not, in some cases!). For instance,
what about Father Christmas in his red coat handing out presents
to little children. Well, he was originally a pagan figure.
He was called Nik (later to be Christianised into St Nicholas),
rode a white horse and distributed presents to children. Later
on he acquired some reindeer (although Rudolph was a late
recruit). And, thanks to an early Coca Cola advertisement,
he donned a jolly red coat with white fur trim.
year, amid all the commercial hype, canned Christmas carols
in shops and kisses under the mistletoe, spare a few thoughts
for Winter Solstice and have a really good time! After all,
the Sun is reborn and Spring is around the corner. Merry Yule!