Thursday, December 22, 2011

Happy Solstice

Today is the first day of winter, the day in which we have the least amount of daylight hours of the whole year (9 hours, 14 minutes and 53 seconds where I live, to be exact). We celebrated last night since winter technically arrived around 9:30 PM. Every year we get together with a couple of friends and loosely celebrate with food, a reading of the poem "The Shortest Day", then more food after that. This year I did some informal research on Solstice traditions around the world so I could embellish the celebration and up our credibility a bit.

Citrus bath for purification
Before supper, the boys and I drew a bath for them. Apparently in some Asian cultures, this time of year calls for a citrus bath that holds purification properties. Shopping for the fruit was one of the funnest parts, letting them choose among the assortment in the produce section. Pomelo, kumquat, lemon, lime, tangerine, grapefruit, orange and blood orange is what we ended up with. They set out tea lights all over the bathroom, lit them and with a handful of salt (also for purification), jumped in. This really was a beautiful sight and what was even more wonderful was how they were really into it. They wound up cutting most of the fruit in half and sampling it all. It ended when Oliver's belly button started stinging too much from the citric acid in the water.

Today is one of those days I wish I had more time to myself to finish this entry. I'd like to write about the bonfire we lit outside and the yule logs we threw on (the boys were champs and dug the pit for it in the rock hard soil) and other meaningful observations. It's already 10:30 in the morning and as soon as the boys come in from shoveling the walk (something to keep them busy while I'm writing), they'll be chomping at the bit for something fun to do. Christmas break can be a strain for all of us at times since we are not accustomed to spending hours upon hours together.

So I'll end with the poem that is read every year. Reading it is not the same as hearing the vocal rendition but for that, you'll have to show up at our house on December 21, 2012.

"The Shortest Day" by Susan Cooper

And so the Shortest Day came and the year died
And everywhere down the centuries of the snow-white world
Came people singing, dancing,
To drive the dark away.
They lighted candles in the winter trees;
They hung their homes with evergreen;
They burned beseeching fires all night long
To keep the year alive.
And when the new year's sunshine blazed awake
They shouted, revelling.
Through all the frosty ages you can hear them
Echoing behind us - listen!
All the long echoes, sing the same delight,
This Shortest Day,
As promise wakens in the sleeping land:
They carol, feast, give thanks,
And dearly love their friends,
And hope for peace.
And now so do we, here, now,
This year and every year.

1 comment:

Court said...

i'm glad you're blogging more. wishing you many happy adventures and deep belly laughs in 2012.