The winter solstice

It's no secret that the winter solstice - a little different time of year, which is characterized by the shortest day and the longest night of the year.This is an astrological phenomenon is associated with the movement of the heavenly bodies.Solstice falls on the 21st or 22nd of December.And if until this time during daylight hours getting shorter, after watching its gradual increase.

winter solstice was of great symbolic significance for ancient cultures.Virtually every nation celebrated the day in their own way, and some traditions have been preserved to this day.

day of winter solstice and equinox: What's the difference?

Despite the fact that these terms are often confused, they are quite different.Solstice can be seen twice a year - namely, in December and June.Winter months will be marked by the longest night, and June - the longest day.

Often confused with the winter solstice equinox, which is wrong.Equinox also be observed twice a year - in May and September.In these days of the day is exactly the same as and night.

winter solstice in the culture of ancient Slavs

Ancient Slavs believed Dec. 21 (Solstice) the beginning of the new year.That day began a month kolyaden.It was believed that at certain times of the day is born the new sun god - Kolyada.This deity is symbolized good weather and crops.That is why the celebration in his honor lasted about 21 days.

At Christmas time people dressed in new, expensive clothes, covered tables and wished each other good luck.The Slavs believed that the new year will hold a person exactly as he meets.In addition, the winter solstice was considered a magical period when the line between the living world and the dark forces became very thin.To scare away evil spirits of all fires were built, and people dressed in costumes of animals and supernatural beings.

Another interesting tradition - it kolyadovschiki.Young boys and girls gather in small groups and traveled from house to house, congratulating the owners on the come year and wishing good luck and prosperity.A reward young singers received sweets and other treats.By the way, this tradition is still alive to this day.

winter solstice and Germanic Yule

Germanic tribes also celebrated this day as its point of transition between the old and the new year.Like the Slavs, the celebrations were accompanied by the fires.The key point - it is a symbolic burning of large logs, coal is then mixed with grain.In addition, the houses, streets and trees decorated with candles - because people asked for help and protection from the spirits of their dead ancestors.By the way, the fire became the prototype of modern decoration garlands.

But that's not all.Here I was born the tradition of decorating the house with branches of evergreen trees - Christmas trees, mistletoe, ivy and holly.These decorations were a symbol and reminder of that night and the cold certainly depart.

winter solstice and its role in the history of

In fact, it was considered a magical time of the year not only in Germanic and Slavic tribes.His celebrated the ancient Celts, as well as the inhabitants of the east, including China and Japan.For centuries, the inhabitants of the ancient world worshiped their own gods, performed sacrifices and faith about the future.

But now, some traditions are preserved.Only now people around the world celebrate Christmas.Yes, it is interesting that Jesus' birth was not originally confined to any date, and noted his spring.Only many years later, Christmas moved to the end of December.And to this day remained pagan traditions such as Christmas tree, wreaths of mistletoe, carols, a gala dinner and gifts.