Thursday, June 28, 2012

Discovering meaningful celebration

Sorry, best photo, camera got dropped
For the very first time I celebrated the winter solstice. I like many Australians celebrate birthdays, Christmas, Easter and new years, but apart from birthdays I have found the celebration of these events to be slowly losing their meaning. So when it was suggested by Debbie in our gardening group to celebrate the winter solstice I felt excitement at the possibility of reclaiming some lost meaning in my life.

Now if I was asked to participate in such an activity a number of years ago I would have thought it sounded a bit too new agey for my liking. Now that I am a gardener however, I can’t think of anything more meaningful than celebrating the shortest day of the year. It marks the beginning of a very cold and challenging time, with slow plant growth and a slow demotivated gardener. A time that requires a gardener to have a little hope to cling to. It also marks a very positive point, as from here on every day is going to bring a smidgen more light. I will soon find getting up and out in the garden easier, I will start to notice life returning to the garden, more delicious home grown food on the table, and a bit closer to my gardening goal. Now that is truly meaningful to me, something definitely worth celebrating.

To celebrate we lit a small fire, enjoyed a meal together, did a bit of gardening, and to make the event a special one we practiced a couple of rituals. We all joined hands around the fire and practiced how long we could last until the smoke in our eyes was too  much. Then, without the fire, we held hands again and each shared something that we wish to grow in our life. Mine was more time at home, growing my involvement in the gardening community, and growing the seed business. Others included growing meaningful relationships, and improved health and fitness. Ending the activity with a Wheeeee (that is the best description I can give). What impressed me was how much the children loved such a simple activity. Like me it probably made them feel like they are really part of something important.

How did you celebrate winter solstice?


  1. That is so touching Jason. The winter solstice is a wonderful and special time and I'm glad you have found it to be a good time to re-focus the family in a personal way. I personally feel the joy rise in me when we reach solstice and I feel positive through the rest of cold winter as I count the lengthening daylight minutes each day.

  2. It is amazing how important day light hours become to gardener. The return of light seem to all so happen so quickly. Like you say you can actually notice the addition minute each day.

  3. Sounds like you had a really lovely celebration Jason. Until this year I had only ever wished for the Winter Solstice because it marked the start of it being less painful to get up for work in the cold and dark! But this year I was counting down to it and really aware of it as the turning point of the gardening year. I feel like it signals a real change in my gardening knowledge too. I didn't actually celebrate it outwardly, but loved reading about other communities who did and will certainly plan something for next year!

  4. I have read a bit about what other communities through history have done to celebrate this day as well. I have found it extremely interesting. Food and its production are vital to survival so the celebrations have such honest meaning.

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