A happy and blessed Winter Solstice to all my Pagan friends.
For those who are wondering, Winter Solstice (coming up on December 21) is the shortest day of the year and the ancient Pagan day of celebration to which Christmas conveniently attaches its sleigh.
What? Christmas is older than Jesus?
Yes, it's true.
In fact, it's older than Judaism as well.
Surely, you did not think the world began with Moses or Jesus? Dinosaurs once roamed your back yard. I promise you this is true.
Winter Solstice is the the darkest day of the year, and Winter Solstice is celebrated as the beginning of the return, or rebirth, of the Sun.
In short, Winter Solstice is the beginning of the REAL New Year, and it pretty much always has been celebrated as such.
The Roman holiday held at this time of year was called Saturnalia, and it lasted from December 17th to the 24th, with the Winter Solstice itself being (incorrectly) celebrated on December 25th (Sol Invictus) after Julius Caesar introduced the Julian Calendar in 45 B.C.
Groundhog Day, February 2nd, is the halfway point between the true Winter Solstice (December 21) and March 21 (the Spring or Vernal Equinox)..
It is not an accident that February 2nd is also 40 days after Christ was born, as in Hebrew tradition mothers were required to purify their children in the temple 40 days after giving birth.
February 2nd then is not only Groundhog Day, but also the "Feast of the Presentation" otherwise known as Candlemas. In the ancient Pagan world, Groundhog Day was known as Imbolc.
So where did the holiday we know as "Groundhog Day" come from? For that story, read the previous blog posts on that topic.
Bottom Line: Today is a great day to celebrate "that old time religion".
And yes, all you New Age Pagans should feel perfectly free to call it Festivus.
In fact, please do!
Seinfeld - The Festivus Story