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sarah h 12-21-2007 06:00 PM

Winter Solstice Cheers to All of You!
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Happy Solstice!

1:08 AM in the early morning of December 22nd is when what I’ve been waiting for finally arrives – Winter Solstice for those of us in the Northern hemisphere - the day we begin to steal the sun back from those down under! So you there, in the land of Oz, enjoy your longer days while you can ‘cause from here on in, they get shorter for you. For us northerners, the days get longer, the sun gets stronger – celebration time!

Maybe one year I will get to celebrate Winter Solstice at Newgrange in County Meath, Ireland, built about 3200BC in such a way that at dawn on the shortest day of the year, a narrow beam of sunlight for a very short time illuminates the floor of the chamber at the end of the long passageway. Attendance on that morning is only possible by lottery.

The photo below of the Newgrange entryway shows some lovely stone work – maybe the look of that large threshold stone in the foreground is what I should try to achieve for the final finish on my oven!

Cheers, and enjoy the season in good health wherever you are!


Les 12-22-2007 09:03 AM

Re: Winter Solstice Cheers to All of You!
Same to you Sarah - I've been waiting for this day as well. :) It may take a few months to get the heat back, but it's a start.


Frances 12-22-2007 11:04 AM

Re: Winter Solstice Cheers to All of You!
Woo, I like that stone! Twirly bits!

Yep, the cold isn't half as bad as soon as the days get longer... happy Solstice to you, too.

CanuckJim 12-23-2007 10:10 AM

Re: Winter Solstice Cheers to All of You!

I, too, have been to Newgrange. It is touted as the largest Neolithic site in Europe. Don't know about that. In a shop nearby, very basic, I bought a locally made silver ring with those intricate swirl motifs. It's a special place, so too the graveyard with the large Celtic teaching cross.

Think solstice, think Christmas, think of how tight a worldwide community we've all built here. Good on us.


Inishta 12-23-2007 10:03 PM

Re: Winter Solstice Cheers to All of You!
It is six thirty pm, Friday the twenty first and the longest night of the year. It is minus one degrees and the streets are crowded with Christmas shoppers, In the distance the drums have started and an air of anticipation is stirring the crowd, people start to line the streets, two police women with dogs walk by and the dogs have Father Christmas hats on. The Police have closed off the roads and children are playing in the streets, the drumming is getting louder and feet start to tap, heads are turned towards the beat and a troupe of young dancers come into view, hips swaying to the rhythm , behind them is a procession of people carrying tissue paper lanterns decorated with clock motifs glowing brightly in the cold night, among the lanterns are the drummers who’s infectious syncopation is getting to the crowds, hips are swaying and feet are moving in time to the beat. The grandchildren, Jet, one month old and snuggled against the cold in the first tier of the buggy, above sits Truly, fifteen months old, eyes wide with delight, keenly watching the passing spectacle, Tyger, six years old, wearing a pair of flashing bunny ears and waving her flashing star, standing at the kirb with a growing larger group of children. The lanterns are growing in size and design now and musicians have mingled with the drummers, a trad band is bringing the sounds of New orleans to the streets of our town and the crowds are almost dancing. The lanterns have evolved to life size figures of dancing girls, Ballerinas and Wizards all made of tissue paper and lit from within, themes are growing random now, we see a Hippo, a Dragon and a Bear, a Spaceship with Aliens and a huge model of the Pavilion, more drummers are adding to the rhythm of the night changing the beat to a salsa rhythm, by now the crowd are dancing in their hundreds, the parade takes a serpentine rout through the lanes and slowly makes its way to the sea front, we fall in line with the crowd dancing behind the parade. On the beach is a tiered wooden clock tower inside a fenced corral and people are throwing their lanterns in one after the other, as the last lantern goes out the drumming stops, the crowd stop dancing and a deathly hush fills the night, the crowd remain silent in anticipation, knowing full well what's coming next, a deep base throb starts to build, slowly getting louder, a trumpet fanfare starts to play, the crowd, now in their thousands, lining the terraces behind and filling the streets are waiting for the moment. Suddenly one of the lanterns burst into flames and a huge roar comes from the crowd, this is the reason we are all here, to witness the Burning of the Clocks, to a chorus of cheering and clapping the clocks burn them selves to ashes, taking with them winters last chance of imposing its will over the earth. The old time has been destroyed, making way for the new, the sun is gathering strength to reclaim the days heralding a brighter future, rebirth for the soul. As the ashes are blown into the sea the Firework display begins, bringing in the true new year.

Happy Christmas every one.

sarah h 12-26-2007 10:37 AM

Re: Winter Solstice Cheers to All of You!
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Inishta, that sounds amazing! I know lots of place celebrate solstice with big festivals but I didn't know Turkey was one of them. I had thought the Burning of the Clocks was British though?!

We held a neighbourhood solstice celebration last year and lit up the night outside, with homemade lanterns (photo below), then partied inside with help from the ‘wassail bowl’. I had planned to celebrate again this year but was pre-empted by a neighbour’s Christmas party. I’d love to start a grassroots thing that would evolve over time into something like what you described a but it’s a tough sell, so close to Christmas and with the type of weather we often have at that time.

You’re lucky to have such a celebration where you are!


Acoma 12-26-2007 06:05 PM

Re: Winter Solstice Cheers to All of You!
Inishta, thank you so much for sharing the great details to such a magical moment. I never pictured such excitement being celebrated in Turkey, and I bet even more happens throughout the year.

Inishta 12-26-2007 10:28 PM

Re: Winter Solstice Cheers to All of You!
Sarah............'burning the clocks' is based in paganism and takes place annually in Brighton, England to celebrate the Solstice. It has evolved from small beginnings in the 90's to the spectacle it is today. I thought I would share with the forum the evocative description of it.

We in Turkey have a great number of different events and festivals that I would like to pass on over time. All of our cultures have a rich tapestry which, when shared, help us understand each other better. I wish you all success in your endeavour to create something in your community.


CanuckJim 12-27-2007 08:43 AM

Re: Winter Solstice Cheers to All of You!

Evocative, highly descriptive, well done. Thanks for that.


sarah h 12-27-2007 08:16 PM

Re: Winter Solstice Cheers to All of You!
Inishta, I'll look forward to your future postings of other Turkish celebrations and events - your description of the solstice celebration made me feel as if I was there! And thanks for clarifying the Clocks, too.


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