Waaaaay back when I was in high school, there was a ceremony that all the students participated in, called Candlelighting. It was an optional gathering run by a small group of kids, and lead by seniors from this group. The premise of it was to acknowledge and give a little background on different religions celebrating holidays in the winter. This was to be conducted without lights apart from seniors holding candles at the end of each row of seats and in complete silence apart from the speaker describing each segment. AND somehow it worked. Completely silent high schoolers? It actually happened!
When the speakers were done, the seniors on the end of each aisle would lean down and light the candle of the person next to them. That student would do the same and so on and so forth until the entire gym was lit solely by candlelight. Now, I am not a religious person. BUT it was so powerful to me (chilling, in fact) to just sit. And listen. And to think. And then at the end, watching the room slowly light up like so many dominoes collapsing on each other. Truly moving for me as a young adult.
I share this with you as we near the darkest, shortest day of the year (in the northern hemisphere). And here in Seattle? That is a big thing. Days getting longer is essential to our sanity. But even in this darkness, different religions, different cultures, different people, celebrate by lighting up the dark. It speaks to hope and unity and love. All things that this world could use more of.
And this is certainly something you can participate in. You can create your own winter solstice celebration! Even if it's the three of you as a family reading stories by candlelight. It goes back to tradition. And family. And how decor (in this case, candles) contributes to these ideas and more.
I won't get into each of the celebrations; I wouldn't be able to do them justice. But if you are interested in learning more, here is a place to start.
With that, I will leave you to your winter solstice celebrations, be they large or small. If you have time, leave a comment below! Let us know how you're renewing hope and celebrating the shortest day of the year.