Longest Days and Nights Around Christmas and New Year
There’s a distinct chill in the air and the nights are getting darker as you arrive home from work. While for many of us the approach of winter means celebrating the arrival of the large man in a red suit, around the world there are countless festivities and celebrations that mark the longest days and nights of the year. With the Winter Equinox being celebrated across numerous cultures, here’s a look at a few winter solstice-inspired late holiday deals.
The importance of the Winter Equinox
For people who survived on the harvest of crops and the slaughter of animals, the equinox marked the turning point in the coldest season of the year and the journey to springtime.
Though the equinox has also taken on more of a spiritual significance than the simple passing of the seasons. It’s a date that holds significance for everyone from the ancient Greeks and the Jews, to the Christians and the Maori tribal cultures of New Zealand. Marked by celebrations such as gift-giving, feasting and even sacrifice, the solstice is a significant time for historical significance and for the present day.
Famous Winter solstice celebrations
In Ancient Greece the passing of the famous winter holiday took place in the form of the Brumalia celebration. Associated with Dionysus, the god of wine, the festival would mark the time for the wine to be poured for drinking. Usually lasting around a month, Brumalia would commence on the 24th of November and end with the "Waxing of the Light", on December 25. While the festival died out centuries ago, there’s still plenty of time to celebrate as well as plenty of wine to be enjoyed in Greece. The winter months see plenty of cheap Greece holidays, whether you’re looking to visit the capital or escape the crowds on an island getaway.
Scotland’s Hogmanay celebration in Edinburgh is globally renowned as an unforgettable New Year’s Eve party. However, what many people don’t realise is that the occasion has its roots in the Norse winter solstice celebration and holidays.
While we don’t always associate the Mediterannean with winter conditions, the solstice is of particular significance to Mayan and other tribal cultures. The year 2012 also plays a massive role in their traditional calendar, meaning countless tourists are planning holidays to Cuba and Mexico to welcome in the change of the season.