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How to celebrate the Winter Solstice with Your Family

June 13, 2018
Winter family - Hearty Health

The Winter Solstice highlights the birth of a new solar year and is also known as midwinter or Yule.   It is the shortest period of daylight and the longest night of the year. Celebrate the Winter Solstice with your family by learning about why it is so significant around the world and start new family traditions that become annual rituals…

Midwinter is a traditional time of feasting and celebration.   In the Southern Hemisphere the Winter Solstice will take place on 21 June.

This date in the calendar is recognised and celebrated because it marks the middle of Winter and the beginning of the journey towards longer lighter days and eventually Spring.

Yule corresponds with the Northern Hemisphere Christmas season and at this time, Yule logs are burned. The Yule log must traditionally be the root of a hardwood tree.

Winter Solstice in Australia

In Australia, Mallee roots, Tasmanian Oaks and all types of Eucalyptus are ideal for Yule logs. The Yule log is burned down until nothing but a small piece remains.  This is saved and kept to be used as a lighter for the following year’s Yule fire.

Winter Solstice traditions around the world

There are many traditions and activities around the world that you can use to celebrate the Winter Solstice with your family.  Some focus around monuments but others are transferable to the Australian way of life and open up our imagination for fun and festivities.

  • Ireland – people stand inside the Newgrange monument in Ireland and absorb the first rays of the sun as they fill the ancient chambers.
  • Japan – people traditionally soak in hot baths with the Yuzu citrus fruit to protect their bodies from the common cold.
  • Korea – good luck on the solstice is associated with red bean porridge. Koreans will often make the dish both to eat and spread around the house to keep evil spirits away and keep them healthy.
  • England – Stonehenge is known for its precise alignment with the sun’s movement and may have been a sacred place of worship and celebration for solstices for thousands of year. People gather at the site to sing, dance, play instruments and kiss the stones as they wait for the sun to rise.
  • Antarctica – a swim in icy waters marks the passage of midwinter for expeditions at Australia’s Antarctic and sub Antarctic stations. Crews mark the winter solstice with a range of activities including games, pantomimes and a gourmet dinner.
  • Iran – the family gather together, usually at the house of the oldest, and celebrate by eating, drinking and reading poems. Nuts, pomegranates and watermelons are particularly served during this festival.

How to celebrate the Winter Solstice with your family

The Winter Solstice is a great opportunity to get together with family and friends and celebrate with your favourite warming foods and have lots of fun. Who knows, this could mark the start of a new annual tradition in your family?

Get your family involved too by getting them into the kitchen to help you make delicious meals and try some simple activities like our Winter Solstice Lanterns to decorate your home.

Or pop over to a Solstice festival near you such as the Winter Solstice Festival by Festive Fires in Eltham, Victoria.  Experience the full festivities of the season including mulled wine, festive foods and more activities.

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