December 21, the winter Solstice, is a magical date for many people. It is considered to be the shortest day (and the longest night) of the year in the Northern Hemisphere and during this time, before Christianity and Christmas, the pagan and Germanic tribes of northern Europe celebrated their winter festival.They called the 12-day festival “Yule” and during it they killed animals, finished making their beer and prepared for the long, hard winter months ahead.
Today the word “Yule “is still used in some people’s Christmas greetings and many people congregate at Newgrange in Ireland and Stonehenge in England to experience the effect of the sunrise and sunset on these two monuments, just as the ancient tribes did long ago.
Perhaps a more attractive destination at this time of the year is a trip to the most northern latitudes to see the northern lights when the dark night sky lights up in a rainbow of colours.
So, if you live in the Northern Hemisphere, whether you are celebrating Christmas or Yule or neither but have a few days holiday, where would you like to spend them? With your family at home? Visiting the northern lights? Watching the sunrise in Newgrange or the sunset at Stonehenge? Or perhaps going somewhere a little warmer?
If I could, I would wrap myself up in warm woollen jumpers and travel to north Finland (or maybe Canada) to see the light show! Watch the video for some ideas on where you could go.