Marja-Leena Rathje
Home ::: the longest night

the longest night


Photo from inside the chamber at Newgrange, Winter Solstice of 2004, by Alan Betson

Once again in the northern hemisphere it is the winter solstice - the shortest day and longest night of the year, the first day of winter. It amazes me how very many cultures around the world have celebrations around this time. If I were able to choose a special and ancient way to celebrate, I'd go to Newgrange.

Instead I'll be happily continuing preparations for Christmas here at home, looking forward to Joulu (Finnish for Christmas). I baked Christmas bread yesterday, and today I'm making two kinds of cookies. Then there's the house to clean and food to restock and prepare for the feasts. We take immense pleasure in the lights of candles, wood fires and Christmas light strings to brighten these long dark nights.

Happy winter solstice to all, however you may celebrate!

(See my previous posts on the solstice in 2005 and 2004)

Marja-Leena | 21/12/2006 | 5 comments
themes: Being an Artist, Culture, Home


Stunning photograph! I don't know if we'll be lucky enough to keep the snow we're getting today; my hunch is it will melt before Christmas, but I'm happy to have it for this day. This is a day I enjoy celebrating — looking forward to the return of the light! Happy Solstice to you, too, Marja-Leena!

I've actually been to Newgrange several years ago. I was hitch hiking across Ireland with a friend and we got picked up by a New Agey woman and her son.

I'd never heard of it before and she explained how it was at the third point of some mystical energy or something like that and asked us if we'd like to go. She drove us an hour out of her way to drop us off there.

It was shortly after the summer solstice and it was really an incredible experience. Thanks for reminding me of that.

MB - yes, we truly must enjoy each day's gifts! Soon we'll have more light too. Thanks for the wishes.

Elise, that's a great story of a most interesting experience! I'm jealous!!

We have had foggy mornings in the lead up to the 21st, so it was wonderful to be at Newgrange on the 21st and experience a glorious sunrise. I was there again this morning (which is technically the Winter Solstice this year) and the sunrise was excellent again.

Hello Michael! How wonderful to experience a sunny morning on solstice at Newgrange! Are you the person who maintains the website, if I may ask? Thanks for writing in.