What is the Winter Solstice

Thesolsticenotesthe times of year whenone hemisphere is shifting into longer days and the other intoshorter daysbased on theEarth’srotationaround the sun in relation to theEarth’s axis.These days, June21stand December 21st, are the longest days or nights of the year depending on which hemisphere you arein.For us crusty northerners, December 21stis our winter solstice, where the northern hemisphere hasrotated to the point where it is at its veryfarthest from thesun during its yearly rotation and we will have our longest night.The winter solstice celebrates this longnight, andwelcomes a return to longer days.

Both solstices have a long history of celebration in many cultures and religions. At the Brunswick-Topsham Land Trust(BTLT)we celebratethewintersolstice by adorning a path along the woods, and through the labyrinth with luminaria. After dark friends and families walk the path lit by luminaria andhandmadelantern, wending their way through the turns of the labyrinth.The labyrinth itself was designed for quiet mediation, a space where youeither loseor find yourself while you focus on following theintricatepath beneath your feet.At the winter solsticecelebrationwe welcome quite meditators, and well as boisterous laughter, and everything in between.

For me personally, this is a day towelcome the long, slow season that winter brings us. A time of year where I give myself license to spend all day reading,cooking or putzinglanguidlyfrom one small task to the next.While I embrace this day because I love the slow season,it also gets me excited for long, sun filled days spent in my garden, spent outdoors, spent laughing with those thatbring happiness into my life.I (and all of us at BTLT)wish you a wonderful solstice, and peaceful winter season.

By: Jamie Pacheco, Program Manager

For information on the 2020 Solstice Lantern Walk at the Labyrinth in the Woods click HERE