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The Winter Solstice
September 9, 2021

Tomorrow, 22nd December 2015 is the winter solstice in this part of the world. It  is one of two annual solstices and is the point when the sun reaches it’s lowest point during the year and the day is shortest. The summer solstice takes place mid-June when the day is longest.

Solstice actually means “sun stands still”, and the events have associated festivals and customs with ancient roots and long traditions. Key ancient sites and monuments such as Stonehenge are aligned to sunrise and sunset on the solstices and the festivals play a central part in pagan beliefs. One such tradition is for people to light fires or candles to call back the sun. Spiritually the winter solstice represents new growth, rebirth and renewal.

Given the sacred properties attributed to the summer and winter solstices, it is perhaps not surprising that getting married on those days is popular with couples who are seeking a closer connection with nature as they exchange their vows. In particular, handfasting ceremonies, which include pagan traditions and celebrate the beauty and power of nature , can add a spiritual dimension to the occasion, drawing on ancient customs and forces.