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Nov 27, 2011

Celebrating the Coming of the Light Soon

                            
I read a post today on Mennonitegirlscancook.ca and I posted this response, on the need to slow down and reflect during this stressful, busy time of year-

I always slow myself down and reflect on the past year on Dec. 21st, the solstice, the shortest day of year. And remember that in the darkness the light always returns, and hope prevails...

After posting my recent blog on Materialism in America, it fits right in. I always enjoy going to a local Unitarian church for their annual Solstice gathering, every December 21st. All the lights are off going in, everything lit by candle, and silent. After a short invocation on reflection in the darkest time of the year, it's silent for several minutes. It's such a wonderful way, as a group, to reflect on your challenges of the last year. Everyone has their own history. Each person is given a candle to put in a large sand table. Each has the option to verbally share (or not) what they wish to release, and their hopes for next year. Each person can go up, one at a time, and light their candle, and speak their peace quietly. It's so lovely. Hearing some of the stories of profound loss, and joy, is truly a thing of grace. And then it spoken about the coming of the light, the days lengthening, and it truly is a magical moment. It hearkens back to ancient times of northern European people celebrating return of the light. It reminds me of the Scandinavian holiday of St. Lucia-
                        

December 13th is the celebration of St Lucia, a festival widely celebrated across Scandinavia. The eldest girl in each family wears white robes, wear a crown of candles, carry candles, and sing the hymn about St. Lucia. The candles symbolise the fire that couldn't take St. Lucia's life when she was sentenced to be burned.  A Catholic festival now, most think this tradition survived in Scandinavia as it is celebrated during the very darkest days of winter.
Back in the days when Yule was celebrated at Winter Solstice, it was both a season of giving, kindness and celebration. For some it was also a season of fear of the earth's dark forces. The scariest night  was called the Night of Lussi, Lussinatta.  Some felt that the festival of light is from this time to fend off the evil forces. I find it's a lovely tradition and serve some Scandinavian food during the December holiday season to take part in my own way, welcoming the light...

2 comments:

Candy C. said...

What a lovely, lovely post Nancy! I must admit that I celebrate Yule and the Winter Solstice, shhhh! ;-)

nancypo said...

Thank you, and I won't tell, shhhh~~~

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