Whether you see the winter solstice as the rebirth of light or simply as a turning of the year, the inaugural Winter Solstice Celebration at the Vernon Recreation Centre on Dec. 21 promises to be a unique event filled with music, fun, food and good times.
When the 2012 Winter Solstice Celebration organizers were asked ‘Why a big party just days before Christmas? they replied ‘Why not?’
In their estimation Dec. 21, 2012 is the perfect time to come together with friends for a fun night out and a stress releasing break from the Christmas build-up.
Billed as a “first annual” event, organizers say there is meaning behind the choice of the date and committing to this as yearly event. The solstice is one of the most significant yearly passages in the cycles of the relationship of our sun to the Earth.
In the northern hemisphere the winter solstice marks the darkest time of the year, the longest night and the shortest day.
Ancient people celebrated the return of the sun’s light as a rebirth knowing that the days would get longer which would lead to the new life and growth of spring.
Known as the Yule in the Anglo-Saxon and Norse pagan traditions, medieval church authorities recognized the importance of this winter celebration and placed Christmas, which in Christianity marks the birth of the Son of God, in the early days of the return of the sun’s light.
There are real parallels between the pagan and Christian traditions as they both celebrate the birth of light and regeneration.
Many Christmas traditions come from the customs of Yule such as the decorating of evergreen trees, the hanging of holly and mistletoe, the exchanging of gifts at feasts, the lighting of the Yule log, singing and visiting neighbours.
The darkness of winter’s longest night can also be seen symbolically as the collective dark night of human fear and ignorance that encompasses all sorts of human conflicts, rampant greed that disregards the environment, and widespread economic and governmental failures. Mass concern for the preservation of the Earth’s natural environment is fostering a growing consciousness of respect and awareness for the ever changing cycles of birth, growth, death, spring, summer, fall and winter as perpetuated by the movement of the sun and Earth.
People are yearning to return to an earlier simple and natural place in the order of things, an understanding that was near lost for many.
Nothing teaches us this better than the cycles of life and the seasons; these are concrete and real and affect us all. As more northerly dwellers on this planet we live through months of darkness, chill and gloom.
To celebrate on the date the sun begins its return makes good sense. Universally understood a winter solstice celebration is inclusive of people of all beliefs and faiths.
Organizers do not share the fear of those that believe that Dec. 21, 2012 will be a day of catastrophic world destruction predicted by the Mayan Calendar.
In recent years much has been speculated about Dec. 21, 2012 the final date of the ancient Mayan calendar being the end of the world. In 2002, an X-File’s sensational final episode story line featured massive global destruction as the culmination of the Mayan calendar.
Many doom and gloomers have been happy to buy into this fiction, repeat it, produce videos and write books that claimed this as truth. But the ancient Mayans did not made any such prediction; TV producers cooked it up to be a grand finale for a fiction series.
However, the creators of the Mayan Calendar did, with exceptional accuracy, chart the stars for centuries past their own time accurately predicting a significant celestial alignment for this year on Dec. 21.
In keeping with the northern solstice traditions they saw this as a time of new emergence that a Great Cycle would come to a close and that a new one would be birthed.
To help celebrate ‘the end of time’ in proper Yuletide fashion there will be live music and dancing, artist vendors selling fun and unique gifts, and amazing food.
Acts include award winning acoustic guitarist extraordinaire Chris Madsen, Tanya Lipscomb with her three-octave voice sharing her heart and baring her soul, and Blackberry Wood with their original high-energy body shakin’, foot stompin’ cabaret spin on a broad range of musical genres with wondrous instruments, vocal melodies and fantastical costumes.
Also on stage will be other talented local musicians helping “bring back the light.” Tickets for Welcome Back the Light, the 2012 First Annual Winter Solstice Celebration are available at Ticket Seller or at the door.