How I’m Observing the Winter Solstice this Year

The altar I set up for my grove’s virtual Winter Solstice ritual on Saturday. Photo by M. A. Phillips 2022

The Winter Solstice is officially tomorrow at 4:47 PM EST in the Northern Hemisphere where I live. It marks the longest night of the year, but it’s also on a school and work night! How can we mark the occasion?

Like other religious minorities in the US, I weigh my options each year. Honestly, it’s something I think about for all our holy days. Over the last few years, I actually took time off from work and let my daughter stay home from school on the Winter Solstice. This year, the timing is especially awkward.

As tomorrow is the longest night, we will have a more subdued evening. I plan to make cookies with my child, contemplate darkness, and pray for the renewal of light. I’ve decided to only take Thursday morning off of work so we can drum the sun awake and make offerings as we’ve done for years. It’s such a special moment for us, one we all look forward to. Then I’ll take my kiddo to school so she can enjoy another holiday party, and I can help manage festive activities in the building where I work.

When we go home, we’ll continue our Yuletide celebrations with dinner, exchanging gifts, and merriment knowing we can relax because December break will have begun!

Some Pagans choose to hold a vigil from sundown to sunup. I would love to do that one day, but it doesn’t work with my current sleep habits or obligations. Honestly, I think I’d either fall asleep the night of or the next day at work! If this describes your situation, let me be the first to reassure you that it is okay! A vigil is a beautiful way to honor an occasion and perhaps have some very deep spiritual experiences, but it isn’t the only way. Find a special activity that works for you and your family. Staying up all night may not be feasible, but waking up a little earlier for a special drumming session could be the perfect tradition, especially with little ones!

Honoring the seasonal cycles can be tricky while navigating life’s other demands, but it can be done. How are you celebrating the Winter Solstice this year?

Published by M. A. Phillips

An author and Druid living in Northern NY.

2 thoughts on “How I’m Observing the Winter Solstice this Year

  1. I considered staying up all night but I am very conscious of messing up my bodies circadian rhythm. This year I watched the live feed from Stonehenge, but next year will plan something more special.

    1. That sounds lovely! I’ve watched the live feed in the past, and it’s always lovely. I’m a big believer in listening to what your body needs, and a vigil is not going to work for everyone all of the time. One day, I’d like to do a vigil…but this year wasn’t it. I hope you’re having a lovely Yuletide!

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