Happy Birthday, Sun

My son and I share a birthday, separated by 40 years. The next day, today, the sun has its own birthday of sorts. Death and rebirth in one. The sun is talented like that.

As anyone with a birthday around now can tell you, the plethora of religious holidays nearby largely overshadow your own. Which is fine by me. As far as I can tell, Elliott doesn’t have a strong opinion about it all yet, though he currently very much dislikes being the center of attention, which makes birthdays perhaps a bit unsettling. I can relate.

Whatever the case our birthdays, combined with the Solstice the next day make for a nice little string of family celebrations. We hang decorations, enjoy a feast of sorts and celebrate the rekindling of light and hope at the depth of winter darkness. Or something like that.

candlelight dinner Alban Arthuan photographed by luxagraf

It worked out nicely this year that the morning of the Solstice ice rimmed the world and temperatures dipped will below freezing. Winter is here.

frost on leaves, winter solstice morning photographed by luxagraf

Of course if you look closely at the photo above you’ll notice we’re not exactly traditionalists about our solstice celebration. Soy sauce and chili garlic paste are not your typical Celtic accompaniments. Yule pigs being in short supply in our yard just now, we went for Momofuko’s Bo Ssam pork with some sticky rice and accompaniments. Next year I’ll make some Wassail, this year I had to make do with some beer lao dark. Sorry any Celtic forebearers, I like my Alban Arthuan with a little Southeast Asian flavor.

I’ve always found it a little curious that so many people, myself included, who don’t otherwise practice the Christian faith, choose to celebrate Christmas. Winter solstice makes far more sense as a holiday to latch onto if you want an excuse to celebrate this time of year. You don’t need to be religious at all to recognize that the earth does indeed wobble a bit, which means that here in the northern hemisphere the longest night of the year happens to fall on, for simplicity’s sake, December 21. Seems like as good a reason as any to celebrate. Naturally there’s more to it if you want there to be, but that’s up to you.

A happy solstice to all.