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Winter Solstice Traditions and Thoughts about Light | Shamrock and Peach

Happy Winter Solstice, that marks the shortest day of the year. My birthday is on the summer solstice, and I have always had a fascination with light and darkness, and the ancient secrets of the past. The passage tomb at Newgrange, in Co. Meath in Ireland was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1993, and is over 5,000 years old. On December 21st a shaft of light travels up the passageway and illuminates the chamber with light. Guests visiting the site throughout the year can experience this by modern engineering, with an artificial light shaft to provide an experience like no other. Every time it sends shivers up my spine and stimulates my imagination. Although visiting the site on December 21st has always been on my bucket list, I am grateful for each time I have been a guests to this ancient site.

Part of our Christmas traditions include baking a Chocolate Yule Log. On the Winter Solstice the Ancient Celts would burn logs decorated with holly, pinecones and ivy. Once burned, the logs ashes were valuable treasures and said to have medicinal benefits to guard against evil. With the event of Christianity, the Yule log, traditional continued, albeit on a smaller scale. Families may have burned a log on Christmas Eve, but with smaller hearths. We do not know exactly who made the first Yule log cake, but we know it was inspired by the Celts. The recipe and full story is in the Legendary Ireland chapter of my Return to Ireland cookbook.

For those of you who have been on one of my guided tours, I hope this brings back memories for you about visiting Newgrange. Next June my Wild Atlantic Tour will visit this magical site, that predates the Egyptian Pyramids, and we still have spaces if you would like to join us. 

Wild Atlantic Splendor Tour

Here is a Poem to celebrate this day…

“Hold on to the light. Spring is coming. May your heart shine bright with peace and Joy even in the darkness. May your Winter Solstice be filled with expanding light, both within and without”

Judith (Shamrock and Peach)