With the first days of November past, Winter Festival time begins!
Michaelmas & Martinmas have slipped away. While our winter celebrations may seem a little farther off it’s a great time to get some easy prep done to be ready. Though life seems to speed up this time of year, it also transitions into a magical phase of gathering and giving.
The First Winter Festival is Advent which starts Sunday November 27th.
Advent begins on the fourth Sunday prior to Christmas Day, or
the Sunday which falls closest to November 30, and lasts through Christmas Eve, or December 24. When Christmas Eve falls on a Sunday, it is the last, or fourth Sunday of Advent.
We make our Advent Wreath fresh each year out of evergreen boughs, rosemary and an
assortment of other berries, leaves and herbs found throughout our yard. We add the recommended items each Sunday as we light a new candle. I like to read from Reg Down’s book “Festivals of the Stones”. There is a story that goes along with each week and the simple, sweet characters are favorites in my house. Here is a snippet:
The light that shines in crystals in seashells and in bones
The second light of Advent is the light of plants
Green plants that reach up to the light and in the breezes dance
The third light of Advent is the light of beasts
That shines in all creatures in greatest and in least
The fourth light of Advent is the human light
The light of hope and of thought, to know and do what’s right
One of my favorite festivals of the year is the Winter Solstice. We create a winter spiral out of extra tree branches and trimmings in our yard. This in itself is such a mindful experience as we think about the previous year and where we will be next year. My girls love to do this! We use a large tree stump and place a candle on it in the center. Everyone gets an apple with a candle in it to light off the center candle.
The spiral of evergreens is a reminder of the earth’s life, prevalent even in the cold of winter.
We spiral inward, seeking the birth of light in the surrounding darkness, and we spiral outward,
carrying our light into the world.
We end our festivities with a dinner by candlelight and no lights can be turned on until
the littles are in bed. (Their favorite part!)
After, I sit enjoying the candles in a meditative way. It is truly reverent.
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