Happy Winter Solstice!

Today is the first day of Winter in the Northern Hemisphere North of the Tropic of Cancer. The tropical zone doesn’t have winter.

There are many festivals associated with this holiday. China has a big one. The Winter Festival is full of dumplings and other foods. It’s called the Dongzhi Festival.

In many Northern European cultures, this time of year is called Yule, which is usually incorporated with Christian traditions.

In Ancient Rome, the Solstice marked the highlight of Brumalia, a festival honoring Saturn and Ceres, and sometimes Bacchus. The festival culminated in Saturnalia, marked by feasting, gambling and giving to slaves.

This special day, the longest night of the year is also called Blue Christmas, where people mourn for their lost loved ones because of the increased darkness.

In Wales, it’s called Alban Arthan, or The Quarter of the Little Bear and goes back to the Druid celebration of the Solstice. A key part of that was bringing a tree and mistletoe into the house to honor nature.

There are many more traditions for this time of year. Tell us, in the comments, some of your favorite seasonal traditions.

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