As we approach, The days grow shorter, But, feel longer, As we encroach, The most celebrated, We feel stronger. As I grow older, The wind feels colder, Causing an inner chill, But, I'm sure, It's the same... Still. For those who came, Will the tradition endure? Will the holiday remain? Though 3 million miles, Further away, The summer riles, With a warmer day, A matter of fact is -- The tilt of our axis, Takes away light, Bringing on more night. 23 degrees, And, 27 minutes, Is enough of a tilt, Water flow quits, As it freezes... Throw on another quilt. The Tropic of Capricorn, Is all alone, Calling high noon, It's home. Beli Mawr, Take us further, Into the light, On such a cold night. Mesopotamians, Were first to put their claims in, With a 12-day festival, Of renewal, Marduk! We're stuck! The monster of chaos came... Will you tame, Our fear, For one more year? Stonehenge, To Newgrange, It sounds so strange, Even in Maeshowe, They knew how, The Pueblo's Sun Dagger, Makes my mind stagger, As well as, the countless tabernacles, Marking time with zodiacal motifs, It's easy to understand their motives, Bringing solstice into their chapels. On a medieval winter's night, What a sight, Apple wassailing -- "Please keep these trees from failing!" Even the Chumash, Do not clash, With Iran's Yalda, It's a celebration, For any location, From Canada, To China, Dong Zhi's Ju Dong, Can't be wrong. The 25th of Kislev, Is also festive, Bring on the celebration of lights, For eight days and nights. Even in the Ukraine, The tradition will remain, An appreciative nod, Dazh Boh, the Giver God, Is "Shchedryk"... the Generous One -- The Sun. The rebirth of the Sun, Tied to the birth of Her son, When Christmas day, Comes this way.
Hanukkah celebrates the Jew's victory more than 2,000 years ago as they fought the Greeks for religious freedom. When they reclaimed the Temple Mount in Jerusalem, it had to be rededicated to the Lord. Although they only had one day's worth of sacred oil for the lamps, the oil burned miraculously for eight days until more oil arrived. That's why there are eight days of Hanukkah.
The seasons have nothing to do with how far the Earth is from the Sun. If this were the case, it would be hotter in the northern hemisphere during January as opposed to July. Instead, the seasons are caused by the Earth being tilted on its axis by an average of 23.5 degrees (Earth's tilt on its axis actually varies from near 22 degrees to 24.5 degrees).
The Mesopotamians believed in many gods, and as their chief god - Marduk. Each year as winter arrived it was believed that Marduk would do battle with the monsters of chaos. To assist Marduk in his struggle the Mesopotamians held a festival for the New Year. This was Zagmuk, the New Year's festival that lasted for 12 days.
Native Americans had winter solstice rites. The Chumash, who occupied coastal California for thousands of years before the Europeans arrived are known for their use of sun images on rock paintings. Solstices were tremendously important to them, and the winter solstice celebration lasted several days.
Wassailing has been associated with Christmas and New Year as far back as the 1400s. It was a way of passing on good wishes among family and friends.
Wassail is an ale-based drink seasoned with spices and honey. It was served from huge bowls, often made of silver or pewter. The Wassail bowl would be passed around with the greeting, 'Wassail'.
Wassailing of Apple Trees
Apple trees were sprinkled with wassail to ensure a good crop. Villagers would gather around the apple trees with shotguns or pots and pans and made a tremendous racket to raise the Sleeping Tree Spirit and to scare off demons. A toast was then drunk from the Wassail Cup.
This custom was especially important during a time when part of a laborer's wages was paid in apple cider. Landlords needed a good apple crop to attract good workers. Wassailing was meant to keep the tree safe from evil spirits until the next year's apples appeared.
On 21 December, Parsis (or Zoroastrians) celebrate Yalda, the longest night, by feasting and reciting poetry with family and friends. This is followed on 26 December by Zartusht-No-Diso, the anniversary of the death of the prophet Zoroaster (or Zarathustra). Traditionally, Parsis recite special prayers and some go to a Fire Temple where holy fires are lit.
Celtic commemoration of the rebirth of the sun with the Birth of the Divine Child, He who is known as Beli Mawr, The Shining One, Great Lord of Divine Fire. Here, on the longest night of the year, the Goddess gives birth to the Sun Child and hope for new light is reborn.
The Birth is celebrated with games, merry-making and feasting which usually includes pork, the flesh of the sacred sow, and apples, the fruit of the tree of Avalon, the Blessed Isle of Death and Rebirth.
The Chinese Solstice feast of Dong Zhi is celebrated on the longest night of the year, when sunshine is weakest and daylight shortest. The coming of winter is celebrated by families and is traditionally the time when farmers and fishermen gather food in preparation for the coming cold season. It is also a time for family reunions.
This celebration can be traced to the Chinese belief in yin and yang, which represent balance and harmony in life. It is believed that the yin qualities of darkness and cold are at their most powerful at this time, but it is also the turning point, giving way to the light and warmth of yang. For this reason, the Dong Zhi Festival is a time for optimism, when everyone dons brand new clothes, visits family with gifts and feasts on expensive meat dishes. This is known as "Doing the Winter" (Ju Dong)
Yule, also known as the Winter Solstice, Winter Rite, Midwinter, and Alban Arthan, is the celebration of the rebirth of the sun.
Many seasonal songs have a rivalry between the holly and the ivy. Both very dominant in the forest and in the home as they symbolize the man (holly) and woman (ivy). Many of today's carols are based on much older ones. "The Carol of the Bells" is based on a Ukrainian carol called "Shchedryk". They are similar only in melody as the English version is different. "Shchedryk" means "Generous One"; it is a song about the god of generosity, Dazh Boh, the Giver God or sun.
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