The first day of winter and the longest night of the year arrive Monday, the winter solstice, the time when the earth’s axial tilt is farthest from the sun. For those of you who’ve already been hit with seasonal affective disorder, the silver lining that comes with that long dark night is that our days will begin to get a just a little longer come December 22.
Here in Minnesota, that’s worth celebrating, and a number of groups around Minneapolis and Saint Paul will be doing just that at public rituals to mark the winter solstice and celebrate the northern hemisphere’s slow angling back toward the sun.
Here’s a list of some gatherings you can join over the next few days to celebrate our gradual-but guaranteed-increasing sunshine:
The Tree and the Well Winter Solstice Celebration
5 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 19
Powderhorn Phillips Cultural Wellness Center, 1527 E. Lake St., Minneapolis
Cost: $5 to $10 is requested, but no one will be turned away.
Celebrate the darkness, silence and returning light. Learn more about the tradition of winter solstice. Children are welcome and special children’s activities will be part of the ritual. Bring a dish to share for a community potluck following the ritual.
For more information, call Teri at 612-729-4444 or go to www.treeandthewell.org/celticholidays.htm
Winter Solstice at Wisdom Ways
5 to 6:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 20
Carondelet Center, 1890 Randolph Ave., Saint Paul
A celebration of light and peace. All ages welcome. Refreshments will be served.
For more information: http://www.wisdomwayscenter.org/
Winter Solstice Fire Dance and Drum Jam
7 p.m. Monday, Dec. 21
Cedar Cultural Center, 416 Cedar Ave. S., Minneapolis
Cost: $10; children under 10 are free
The annual Winter Solstice Drum and Fire Jam brings local drummers and fire dancers together for a celebration that includes various Twin Cities fire performance troupes and individual fire dancers. They will be backed by a drum jam led by local percussionists. The community is invited to join in: Bring your drum and dancing feet.
For more information: http://www.thecedar.org/winter_solstice_fire_jam_and_drum_jam
Winter Solstice Celebration
7 p.m. Monday, Dec. 21
Unity Church-Unitarian, 32 W. Holly Ave., Saint Paul
A contemplative, family-friendly, Celtic-inspired ritual to mark the turning of the year as the darkness gives way to the growing light. This participatory ritual will include chanting, meditation, candle-lighting, singing and cauldron jumping. Children are encouraged to bring animal masks and hand percussion (rattles, shakers, bells).
For more information, contact Katy Taylor at firstname.lastname@example.org or go to http://www.unityunitarian.org