Posted on | December 20, 2010 | No Comments
December 21 marks the winter solstice in the Northern hemisphere. Various celebrations and holidays are held throughout the world. There are good reasons for rejoicing: it is the longest night, after which things can only get better! This symbol creates hopes for the return of better days, as the cold weather won’t go away immediately.
There’s another good reason to celebrate: following the harvest, some produce were fermented into alcoholic beverages and can finally be consumed. Beer, cider and new wine are finally available to ease these long winter nights. This is a refreshing novelty, since in earlier times the butchered livestock and other produce would gradually be replaced by salted meats and pickles, then sometimes to a scarcity or even famine. Lent doesn’t mark the end of winter and beginning of spring randomly: it is a pragmatic union of religion and food shortage.
Most cultures celebrate this event with more or less pump and circumstance. Romans celebrated the invincible sun on this day; Christians as they spread through the Empire thought it could be a good time to celebrate the birth of Christ. Japanese celebrated the re-emergence of the sun goddess Amaterasu.
Many people made of fire a focus of these festivities. The cold climate may explain this tradition. Some claim that watching a fire could also alleviate seasonal affective disorder. No matter what truth lies behind this claim, it is safe to say that sitting in front of a crackling hearth with loved ones is bound to cheer you up! Do enjoy these moments if you can, and do not lose hope: the warmer days will indeed be back soon!
Plusieurs cultures font du feu un élément central des réjouissances. Le temps frisque explique en partie cette tradition. Certains voient par contre la contemplation du feu comme un remède à la déprime saisonnière. Peu importe l’efficacité de ce remède, il est certain que s’asseoir devant un foyer crépitant en compagnie d’êtres chers en réjouira plus d’un! Profitez-en alors si vous en avez la chance et ne perdez pas espoir: les jours meilleurs reviendront bientôt!