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.
From midwinter feasting at Neolithic British sites like Durrington Walls, to the Haloa of Ancient Greece and the Norse Yule celebration, humans have always needed a reminder during the depths of winter of light, community and the promise of good things to come.
he legendary frost fairs on the River Thames are depicted in a number of works of art that show just how cold, icy and severe the weather became during winter, in comparison to the weather experienced in London in modern times.
Christmas is over, New Year has been well and truly celebrated, and most of us are back at work by January 4th at the latest. All we have to look forward to is the rest of January, a month which is cold, dark and devoid of any reason for fun and games. But what about Epiphany? The rest of world enjoys hearty festivities on this day so why are we Brits so ignorant of its importance? Let’s break out the Prosecco again and take a look. And maybe start a petition to Bring Back Epiphany!
Through myth, fairy tale and legend, powerful women are depicted as dark, cruel and calculating, and they are often naturally associated with winter – a season where all warmth withdraws, and the land is covered with snow and ice, and life is no more than a battle of survival against the elements.