Today is the Winter Solstice. It is the longest night of the year. Many ancient structures are set around the Winter and Summer Solstices. The structures show the sun cascading thru varioous portals to hit an exact spot that is only possible on that particular day. For Pagans it represents renewal of life as the sun becomes stronger and begins to overpower darkness and night.
The celebration of the Winter Solstice or Yule has many carry overs to modern Christmas. The Christmas tree and decorating with holly for instance. Originally the trees brought in were potted so that they could be planted outside in the Spring but the Evergreen represented just that life, rebirth and renewal. Holly was brought into homes a protection against evil. They also represent hope for the renewing sun. Wreaths were made to represent the circle of life and the wheel of the year. It would be decorated with symbols that represented what the family was hoping to achieve with the renewal of the the sun.
Looking into the history of various holidays (or holy days) is quite fascinating. To be able to see how traditions started and where they come from is something I will never tire of.
I hope everyone has a blessed Solstice! Thanks for reading!