December 21st is host to several worldwide holidays and events, particularly those involving the marking of the winter solstice. I’d love to give each of these their own blog post, but I’ve been a bit pressed for time lately, so I’m providing links to each of them so that you can explore them on your own.
Winter Solstice – The literal “reason for the season,” this astronomical event occurs when the sun’s path across our sky creates the longest night of the year in the northern hemisphere. (Wikipedia – Winter Solstice)
Soyal – The winter solstice ceremony of the Hopi and Zuni, to “bring back the sun from its long winter slumber” (Wikipedia – Soyal)
Yaldā – An Iranian winter solstice festival marking the birth of Mithra, the Persian angel of light and truth. The holiday is celebrated with food (especially red foods like pomegranates and watermelon) and gifts, and has a special significance to engaged couples. (Wikipedia – Yaldā)
Saturnalia – A Roman festival in honor of the deity Saturn. This one has been going on since the 17th, and will end on the 23rd. (Wikipedia – Saturnalia)
Pancha Ganapati – A five-day Hindu festival (21st-25th) celebrating Lord Ganesha, Patron of the Arts and Guardian of Culture. As you can probably guess, I like where that Ganesha guy is coming from. (Wikipedia – Pancha Ganapati)
Today is also the last day of Zappadan, a totally made-up holiday celebrating the life and music of Frank Zappa, which runs from December 4th (the day of his passing) to the 21st (his birthday). Fans celebrate by listening to and sharing his music, and making blog posts about concerts they’ve seen or other Zappa-related memories. In the past, I have participated by creating artwork based on some of his songs (as seen above, for “What’s the Ugliest Part of Your Body?”)
Whew. That’s a lot to pack into one day. We may have to spread it out a little over time!