(PCM) The Winter Solstice falls on or around December 21st. On this day in the Northern Hemisphere, the earth is tilted away from the sun as far as it can get.
As the shortest day of the year and the absolute height of winter (astronomically speaking), the Solstice was an important ritual day in many ancient religions. It continues to coincide with modern holidays such as Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanza. Many early pagan midwinter customs (candle rituals, decorating evergreen trees, etc.) are still practiced by people around the world.
The Winter Solstice is also celebrated today by Wiccans and other Neopagans; many observe the holiday as Yule, a festival of merry-making and faith with roots in Norse and other indigenous European cultures.
Whatever your spiritual leanings, the Winter Solstice can be a poignant time to gather with loved ones, celebrate community and the march of seasons, or simply reflect on the exquisite balance of nature. Even in the deepest, darkest day winter, take heart! Summer is on its way.