The winter solstice is the time which the Earth is more distant to the Sun; it is the feast between Samhain and Óimelc, the apices of the cold part of the year. This is the longest night of the annual cycle and the middle of the winter cold, but it marks also the beginning of the proximity of the Earth to the Sun, from this feast the days will grow longer and slowly the warmth will return.
This Feast is centered in the near community and family, for the weather would not allow distant travels. Several Fires were lit everywhere to help strengthen the power of the sun. An old folklore tradition is the Yule log, which was a piece of wood from the last Yule fire that should be burned slowly in the fireplace for the 12 days of the Feast, and at the spring time its ashes should be spread, with the seeds, in the fields to distribute the power of the sun over the land and guarantee the fertility of the soil.
As the Autumn Equinox, this day has its links with the astronomical monuments too. On the morning of the Winter Solstice at Newgrange the Sun shines into the passage to light the Burial Chamber. It is also one of the main astronomical events related to Stonehenge, in Britain, only sharing its importance with its opposite the Summer Solstice day. But if this Feast has also a connection with the Ancestors and the otherworld revealed by the Burial Mound’s importance and events, it seems to have also a close association with the sun, since in a period where the majority of the people are observing familiar cults in their homes or neighborhood, one of the main temples related to this date is an open site aligned to the Sun.
The winter solstice is a feast of the sun, in which even the families being celebrating in their homes or neighborhoods there is a collective effort to concenter fire energy to help the sun in the regrew of nature and warmth of the days. It is also a day, to make offerings to the Ancestors and the spirits of the otherworld for it is day of open connection between the worlds.