At this time of year, when the light fades early and the world shifts from green to gold, cinnamon and fiery red, our old human fears of the approaching period darkness return.
The winter solstice has been celebrated in some form all around the world for centuries. Individual human cultures often mixed magic with religion in acknowledgement and celebration of this important astronomical event. Here we briefly look at five of these festivities from around the world, before discussing why they were so important to our ancestors and concluding with what science has to say today.
Plant lore is the verdant heart of Scottish folk holidays and traditions. Nature’s gift and sacrifice is found in the burning heart of Yule – the Yule log of ash or birch.