The winter solstice is officially tomorrow, but a lot of the stories and festivals run roughly from Dec. 20 to Dec. 23 when the sun appears to rise in the same position every day, rather than move slightly north or south. The solstice marks the shortest days of the year. While we in the U.S. don’t have many “official” solstice traditions, we tend to mix old and new traditions into the season:

Seattle has an annual Winter Solstice Fire Festival with fire and dance performances that looks awesome. 

In Tokyo, people celebrate by bathing with yuzu, a small citrus fruit. 

At Stonehenge, when the sun is the brightest, it shines through a passageway and illuminates an engraving on the wall called the Triple Spiral, drawn to celebrate the arrival of the sun. Great party if you’re a druid. 

According to Norse tradition, the summer god is killed by an arrow made of mistletoe. Loki, the god of evil, made an arrow out of mistletoe and gave it to Hoder, the god of winter. It was he who killed Balder, the sun god. Frigga, Balder’s, mother restored him and cried tears of joy that turned into berries on the mistletoe branch. She was so happy she kissed everyone who passed under the tree.

For my part, I’m just excited that for the next six months we get to enjoy a bit more sunlight every day.