The Beginning of Winter – 3

Sun Goddess FiXAppearance of Amaterasu – Japan Sun Goddess

In the Northern Hemisphere, today is the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year and the longest night. It’s officially the first day of winter and one of the oldest-known holidays in human history. Anthropologists believe that solstice celebrations go back at least 30,000 years, before humans even began farming on a large scale. Many of the most ancient stone structures made by human beings were designed to pinpoint the precise date of the solstice. The stone circles of Stonehenge were arranged to receive the first rays of midwinter sun.
Some ancient peoples believed that because daylight was waning, it might go away forever, so they lit huge bonfires to tempt the sun to come back. The tradition of decorating our houses and our trees with lights at this time of year is passed down from those ancient bonfires. In ancient Egypt and Syria, people celebrated the winter solstice as the sun’s birthday. In ancient Rome, the winter solstice was celebrated with the festival of Saturnalia, during which all business transactions and even wars were suspended, and slaves were waited upon by their masters.

Taken from Writer’s Almanac – 12/21/2014

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About Bruce Louis Dodson

Bruce Louis Dodson is an American expat now living in Borlänge, Sweden with his wife, cat and dog. He is an artist and world traveler who writes fiction and poetry and practices photography in his less than copious free time. His work has appeared in: Barely South Review - Boundaries Issue, Blue Collar Review, Pulsar Poetry (UK), Foliate Oak, Breadline Press West Coast Anthology . The E-buffet, Qarrtsiluni, Struggle Magazine, Pearl Literary Magazine, Contemporary Literature Review: India, 3rd Wednesday, Sleeping Cat Books - Trip of a Lifetime Anthology, Northern Liberties Review, Authors Abroad - Foreign & and Far Away Anthology, The Path, Page & Spine, The Crucible, Sleeping Cat Books -Trips of a Lifetime, Vine Leaves, Pirene's Fountain,Tic Toc Anthology - Kind of a Hurricane Press, Cordite Poetry Review, Buffalo Almanac and mgv2.
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One Response to The Beginning of Winter – 3

  1. Ancient traditions have always fascinated me Bruce and it’s amazing how many people don’t have a clue about the origins of the holidays we celebrate. Our ancient ancestors were definitely engrossed in heavenly movements. The big problem was that between the 22nd-25th Dec the sun appears not to change position. The Saturnalia went on for three days of no holds barred feasting and sex. Then the morning of the 25th was celebrated as the birth of the SUN. As you may know there was also bonfires, sacred pine trees, holly etc worshiped by those in Europe and Britain. Let me see, decisions, decisions, sit around a tree unwrapping presents or wander the streets of ancient Rome. Hmm. Merry Christmas Bruce or Happy Saturnalia.

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