"...just wondering what's with all the different celebrations now - seems like everyone is partying this month."
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A Quick Good Fortune Insight: Nomatter your religious or cultural heritage, the winter Solstice season is a traditional time of gathering together and celebrating. All cultures have a tradition around the longest night of the year.Solstice or sun cycle celebrationsbegan in ancient history and stone monuments in long forgotten cultures mark the date "the sun stands still" - that's what "solstice" means. It is the day the sun reverses direction and a new solar cycle begins. The old, old practices and teachings formed the foundation of later religions and spiritual rituals and can still be seen in communities across the world.Winter Solstice is one of those rare times when humanity comes together in a global celebration. There are three distinct Solstice traditions: Feasting and celebrations in anticipation of the "return of increasing sunlight" and a promise for another year of abundant crops.Second, it is a time to follow the seasons and as Winter "turns within" the teachings of the mystery schools advise looking within yourself. It is a time of soul-searching and deep reflections and of looking back and planning for the future. Third, it is a time of exchanging gifts and showing gratitude and appreciation for family and friends."In the depth of winter
I finally learned that there
within me lay an
invincible summer." Albert Camus
Life on earth continually changes, yet the sun endures. It is the source of light and life. Cultures change and traditions come and go, and symbols are in or out of favor. The return of the light on Solstice underlies all traditions.
The light is invited in with many symbols: Trees and Evergreens, a variety of fires, candles, logs, singing and dancing. All are a reminder that the sun is eternal, the cycle is renewing, and so are you. The sun is a symbol of our interconnectedness.It shines equally on all, and mother nature supports all equally. It is a time of finding unity.
A decorated tree or candles burning brightly, and special holiday feasts, all make the season a time of magic.Trees have historically represented nature or Mother Nature, and have a long history of being the center of celebrations. The Bodhi, Banyan and Palm tree are all revered too. The evergreen is recognized for it's promise of the return of the "greening" of life in the coming Spring season.
The Tree is a symbol of regeneration, of life force and of renewal. Today it is usually referred to as a Yule or Christmas tree or New Years tree depending on the customs of different nations celebrating the Winter Holiday.As in days of old, communities now (cities and capitals) erect a special tree and decorate it with lights and ornaments.Ancient traditional Winter Solstice began with the New Moon in November - culminated on about December 21st at Solstice, and continued to the New Moon in mid-January.It was also a time of gift giving to assure abundance in the coming year. View Holiday Trees from around the world.
Modern Tree celebrations in Winter festivitiesMoscow, Russia, celebrates New Years on January 7th according to the ancient Orthodox calendar. The tree custom dates back to the 17th century and Peter the Great. Religious celebrations were banned for a long period and today New Year is the official holiday.Celebrations begin weeks before Solstice and on January 7th, Father Frost and the Snow Maiden arrive on a magical troika sled or carriage drawn by three horses harnessed side-by-side. They deliver gifts placed under the traditional fir New Year tree.
Madrid, Spain's two-week celebration at the Puerta del Sol features a huge, festive tree that promises wealth and abundance (as in ancient times.) At least one will win El Gordo (the fat one),the world's biggest lottery drawn almost on the actual Solsticeon December 22nd. There are more promises of wealth and abundance at the huge Galeries Lafayette in Paris, France. The giant Christmas tree in the center almost reaches the ornate baroque dome and is surrounded by 10 stories of high fashion luxury. This tree and the beautifully decorated department store draws more visitors than the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower.Trafalgar Square in London, England,has been gifted with a large Norwegiantree each winter since 1947 - (in 2011, for 65 years) as a token of gratitude for Britain's assistance during World War II. The ceremony marks the beginning of the holiday season. The city of Oslo decorates the tree (as tall as the main square fountain) in traditional Norwegian style with hundreds of individual white lights.
The Turkish New Year celebrations began in the late 1920s. About 95% of their population is Muslim, and Turks do not celebrate Christmas. As in olden times, gift giving is a part of the winter holiday. New Year celebrations became very popular in Turkey and decorated trees symbolize abundance in the new year. The tree marks the beginning of the celebrations on about December 15th and continues to about January 15th. The mid date of December 31st is considered New Year's Eve.
In Washington D.C., USA, the capitol's huge tree is decorated with lights and more than 3,500 ornaments made by schoolchildren from around the country.The holiday begins in early December with lighting the Christmas Tree and the Pathway of Peace. The "Pathway of Peace" consists of 56 smaller, decorated trees representing all states, territories, and the District of Columbia. The tradition began in 1954 when the trees were planted surrounding the National Christmas Tree. They are all illuminated each evening at dusk through January 1st. Seasonal displays include a Yule log, a model train, and musical performances every evening.Europe's tallest Christmas tree stood for the first time in Lisbon, Portugal in 2004 at over 76 meters. It will stand in a park overlooking the city and the river and is about 44 meters. The park is much higher so the tree is smaller so as not to interfere with air traffic. It is decorated with thousands of lights and is sponsored by different companies at a cost of one to two million euros. The lights are turned on in late November and continue during the holiday season until January. That timing is similar with the ancient Solstice celebrations from the New Moon in November to the New Moon in January.Ancient to Modern Traditions
Many strange and unique insights into the magical relationships between mankind and the Solar cycles, the Tree, lights and Winter Solstice.Cave Drawings & original practices
Early cave drawings depict a tree as a source of renewal and of inspiration. In the early Celtic, Druid, Norse, and Native American traditions selected trees became the focal point to connect with Earth Mother and the forces of nature. In India and Asia certain trees granted wisdom and enlightenment. Practices evolved that assured success and cooperation between the seen and unseen worlds of spirit. Many are the foundation of good luck symbols and fetishes, with the deeper meanings long forgotten."To many people holidays
are not voyages of discovery,
but a ritual of reassurance." Philip Andrew Adams
The late Neolithic and Bronze Age archaeological sites in Europe dramatically align with the Solstices. The passage and chamber at New Grange in Ireland, are illuminated by the winter solstice sunrise for 17 minutes at dawnfrom about December 19th to the 23rd. A shaft of sunlight shines through an open box on the roof over the entrance shining into the passage lighting up the chamber. The stones that remain in the foundations and the primary axes of new Grange and Stonehenge were aligned to the winter solstice sunrise (New Grange) and the winter solstice sunset (Stonehenge). Other monuments include those in Egypt, Karnac, Gao Cheng Zhen and Maes Howe. Stone monuments and medicine wheels in both North and South America, and the Inca Festival of the Sun, monuments at Chichen Itza and Chaco Canyon attest to Native cultures orienting their practices and communities to Solar Seasons.
Solstice and solar cyclesConnections to historical practices
Greek and Roman celebrationsBrumalia (means "shortest day" or the Winter Solstice) was an ancient Greek festival honoring Dionysus, and later became a Roman solstice festival honoring Bacchus, generally held for 28 days, a moon cycle, and ending on Solstice. The festival included bonfires, music, dancing, drinking and gift exchanges. Duringthe feast called Saturnalia, the Romans decorated their homes with evergreen plants as a reminder winter soon would be over, and that Saturn, the God of Agriculture, would return to the fields and orchards.
Egyptian: In ancient Egypt green palm fronds represented the triumph of the Sun God Ra over death."Perhaps the best Yuletide
decoration is being
wreathed in smiles."Proverb
The oldest and most popular European celebration of the winter solstice isYule. On the night of Yule or Solstice, the Goddess gives birth to the new sun, eternally renewing the cycle of the seasons. Yule continues for 12 days.The Yule Nativitywas Mother Nature, Father Time and the Baby Sun God. Other traditions of Yule include caroling, sharing gifts, decorating trees, holly, Yule logs, mistletoe, ivy, magical reindeer -- and the red and green colors now common for the season.For the Druid, the Oak King and Holly King were two faces of the same Life Force. The Oak King battled the Holly King at Solstice and won, bringing back the light of summer. At Summer Solstice, The Holly King wins, and the dark of winter prevails. Holly is the symbol of the dark giving way to the light in an eternal dance of the seasons.As Northern Europe was the last to become Christian, its pagan traditions had a major influence on Christmas.Scandinavians still call Christmas Jul. In English, the word Yule is synonymous with Christmas, a usage first recorded in 900.
Yule and Northern European Traditions"Christmas gift suggestions:
To your enemy, forgiveness.
To an opponent, tolerance.
To a friend, your heart.
To a customer, service.
To all, charity.
To every child,a good example.
To yourself, respect."Oren Arnold
Christmas is the celebration of the birth of the Christian Deity Jesus Christ or the Messiah. His birth is observed on December 25, which was the Roman winter solsticeestablished by the Julian Calendar. Christian's adapted folk elements of popular festivals from various cultures.Modern Christmas customs include: gift-giving, feasting, greenery, lights and bonfires, from the Scandinavia, Germans, Greeks and Romans; and Yule logs and traditions from indigenous European cultures, and various foods from German feasts."I will love the light
for it shows me
the way, yet I will
endure the darkness
because it shows
me the stars."Og Mandino
Festival of Lights or Celebration of Light around the world
The Persian New Year, also known as Festival of Light dates at least to 1700 BCE in the early Zoroastrian era.Festival of Lights in India - Ghee lamps.Diwali, (Deepawali)is a religious festival associated withHinduism, Sikhism, and Jainism. The biggest and definitely the brightest - is the Festival of Lights ("deep" means light and "avail" means in a row or a row of lights). The four days of celebration lights up India with candles and lamps. Each of the four days in the festival of Diwali celebrates a different tradition, but all celebrate the return of light and of auspicious events and deities. The date is determined by the Hindu calendar and ranges from mid-October to early December.
Hanukkah is a Jewish festival also called The Festival of Lights. The first day of Hanukkah in 2011 is on the evening of Tuesday, December 20, 2011, meaning the first candle to be lit is on Monday night, December 19. The holiday runs 8 days, through evening of Wednesday, December 28th. The date is set according to the Hebrew calendar."Blessed is the season
which engages the whole
world in a conspiracy
of love." Hamilton Wright Mabie
Although the ancient Solstice celebration is often called Christmas - that is more a result of habit than that Solstice traditions began with any one faith. In fact many early Christians such as Martin Luther and John Calvin banned it; the Puritans refused to recognize it; and the tree and other associated symbols was even made illegal in Boston in 1659. Many denied any association with the tree, fire and gifts as a pagan or a non-Christian celebration, which they are. You do not have to follow others and may want to make a new decision based on what feels right to you. Blending and adapting the best of it China has long been home to three religions: Taoism, Confucianism, and Buddhism. Many Chinese are masters at blending all three.In contrast, the West usually divides itself up into separate faiths, each rejecting other religion's beliefs. Recently, however, in North America many new faiths are adapting new ideas from the sciences along with favorite old traditions. For example, the terms Judaism or Christianity today may refer to wide a variety of diverse beliefs and practices.Some Faiths are using elements from both Eastern and Western spiritual traditions and creating new religions or reviving ancient practices. Some choose to create a personalized path and a direct connection with Life Force similar to mystical or Shamanic traditions.Kwanzaa is a recent creation (1966) honoring African heritage and culture.It is a 7 day spiritual practice from December 26 to January 1, created by Dr. Maulana Karenga, Professor, Department of Africana Studies, CSU--Long Beach. It is the opportunity for blacks to celebrate themselves and their own history.
Feeling the Magic of the Solstice Holiday Season
Ancient connections to this sacred magical time span the world, cultures and centuries. Our ancestors celebrated in many traditions.It's no wonder many today enjoy the celebrations at Solstice around a tree or lights -- and a time decorated and adorned with wishes of good will, harmony, prosperity and blessings."The holiest of all holidays
are those kept by ourselves
in silence and apart;
the secret anniversaries
of the heart." Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Why not celebrate the Solstice traditions of abundance and renewal that appeal to you -- combined with your own spiritual practice. Today there is more enlightened religious flexibility, and many celebrate with a tree or lights at the holidays that are not Christian practitioners.If the magic of Solstice calls to you, respond in your own unique way. Use what has meaning to youand let go all that does not."Take rest;a field that has
rested gives a
bountiful crop." Ovid
This Solstice take some quiet time and get in touch with your personal truth and those practices you enjoy and that enliven your Holiday Season - and enjoy knowing you are celebrating as your ancestors have - for many, many thousands of centuries.Stress often accompanies this very busy time of year - and PSTEC is offering a Holiday Gift- and special discounts.PSTEC(TM) is a FREE unique 11 minute audio track which can be played to anyone (including yourself) to create a resolution for almost any problem related to unwanted emotions or feelings.PSTEC clears out trauma and blasts through emotional barriers - relieving anxiety and pain. This treatment is an alternative to hypnosis, EFT, NLP and hypnotherapy. You can test it yourself with the free audio download. There is nothing to understand or figure out first. Begin with an issue in your life and get started. Tap along with the audio tape, and you get results very quickly. Find what works for you - and use it! ThePSTC Holiday Bonuslasts until January 5, 2012.
Enjoy a stress free holiday, festivities and Good Fortune in 2012,
P.S. there's more to explore....
Solar Seasons show the BIG picture of life in relation to natural sun cycles. Where are you in the Big Picture? Find out here.Use Winter Solstice Magic to assure a successful New Year. Begin now to create the life you want to live in 2010.'Tis the season to share and enjoy. Gifts can be a kind word or helping hand.You'll feel good sharing happiness with others. It only takes a moment to make this holiday brighter for someone stressed out and in need of a helping hand.
You never know how little acts of kindness affect others. Often the right word or insight can make a huge difference. There are many free downloads, tools, tips and strategies here...and most could use a little more Good Fortune this Holiday Season.You are welcome to copy and share this; please include all of it as it is written,including links and my contact information. Thanks for sharing www.Quick-GoodFortune.com Copyright 1974-2011 © The Good Fortune Company LLC - All Rights reserved.
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adopt the way
of living that
years ago. The world in
which we live
and we must
change with it."Felix Adler"Life is a process.We are a process. The universe
is a process.."Anne Wilson Schaef"They say that
things, but you
to change them
yourself."Andy Warhol"It takes a lot
of courage to
the new. But there is
no real security
in what is no
longer meaningful. There is more
security in the
exciting, for in
is life, and in
is power."Alan Cohen"The art of progress
is to preserve order
amid change and
to preserve change
amid order."Alfred North Whitehead"When we blindly
adopt a religion,
a political system,
a literary dogma,
automatons. We cease
to grow."Anais Nin"And this I know;
whether the one
Kindle to Love,
or Wrath consume
One flash of it
Better than in
lost outright."Rubaiyat of
Omar Khayyam"There are two
ways of spreading
light: To be the
candle or the mirror
that reflects it."Edith Wharton"The future has
a way of arriving
unannounced."George Will"Beautiful light
is born of darkness,
so the faith that
springs from conflict
is often the strongest
and the best."R. Turnbullfontfontfontfont