The winter solstice is a single date that marks the end and the beginning of a new cycle. This has been seen all cultures throughout the centuries across the planet. And so we continue to celebrate today.
Across the northern hemisphere has reached a particular time of year. At this time nights are long and the days very ephemeral . But this is also mixed with the Christmas holidays in Western culture. What is the origin of this celebration and how it relates to the winter solstice? Because yes, the shortest day of the year is partly responsible for today enjoy a few days of rest.
What happens in the winter solstice?
winter solstice, as we all probably know, is the shortest day of the year. In the northern hemisphere this day occurs between 20 and 23 December, while in the southern hemisphere is just the opposite , and occurs between 20 and 23 June. Indeed, for those who do not know, right now still in the southern hemisphere’s summer. But back to the solstice occurs for a very simple matter: the tilt of Earth’s axis. The translation of our small planet from the sun causes us to see each time with a smaller angle on the celestial Ecuador . Upon reaching the lower angular distance (or more negative angular distance, rather), the position of the sun just a cycle and start another, stretching back days.
From the summer solstice, when the opposite is true, the sun will shorten its life in heaven until the winter, the longest night. This did not go unnoticed by any culture. For example, for the calendar Celtic culture began and ended with the length of days. In the East, the Chinese culture is celebrated Dongzhi, while in Persia were venerated Ahura Mazda Deygān party. Virtually every civilization we know at the time noticed this phenomenon . The vast majority of them, in fact, from West to East, these solar cycles marked on their calendars, usually as part of something important. And of course, the end of the sun marks our daily and seasonal life of a unique and essential form.
I particularly like to me an example of how the Sun has always marked us. The Feast of the Invictus sun and the Roman Saturnalia. These are based both on dates and customs, our current Christmas, the feast of the Nativity. Basically, the Saturnalia are celebrating the holidays in the Roman Empire in honor of the god Saturn in appearance god of harvest and working the land . These celebrations were held around December 17, but went to rest lengthening farmers. One important thing about this festival is the social character that had a holiday for everyone. Saturnalia was more like a kind of carnival gifts, even stretched in time with more private parties. On 23 December, however,
reached the sigillaria, Day gifts.
From the habit of giving things away, until specific dates, Christmas parties we live today retain much of the old parties On this day, wax figures, containers and others feasted objects. Saturnalia ended the day the sun Invictus, or the birth of Sol Invictus, as representing a triumph of light over darkness. Precisely this is the party that was adopted centuries later representing the birth of Jesus Christ, through his parallelism with the sun (light and paramount deity). Saturnalia are not the first parties, much less held in honor of the cycles of the sun. In fact, these come probably from previous festivals, Kronia, of Greek origin and whose parallel is clear. On the other hand, we know that other previous cultures and celebrating the solstice and its holy days. Celts, Sumerians, Akkadians … But back to the Saturnalia, these festivals have evolved in different ways
From the probable adaptation of the habit of giving things away, we saw in the sigillaria until the specific dates that have changed after the centuries, the Christmas that we live today retain much of old but with touches new . Thus, Christmas itself is not entirely coincide with the winter solstice (which, moreover, also “dance” in the calendar). But after millennia, at the end, parties represent the same and in very similar terms: we all get closer, we show our feelings through gifts and celebrate that life continues. And all because of that giant fireball that gives us heat each of our days.
December 22, 2015
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