Arrange to meet your friends and chat online in real-time.
The mid-winter celebration of the solstice, which falls on the 21st of December, is always a significant date for humans. The earliest civilisations observed the shortest day of the year, especially in those climates where that shortest day presaged the hardest months of winter, with no prospect of growing plants until the arrival of spring.
Over the millennia, many religious practices have grown up around this significant time of year. The Christmas tradition is well-known but is far from being the only instance of a religion absorbing older traditions based on natural events.
Today, increasingly, the festive or holiday season is both less and more religious. It's a time of celebration of family and community, for many not necessarily tied to the Christian tradition, and it has expanded to include the religious observances of equally old, but non-Christian, beliefs.
And part of this celebration is the idea of a time of plenty following the harvest months (in the Northern Hemisphere) and the 'bracing oneself' for the harder times to come. It's a time for sharing the bounty we have produced, taking time to be with friends and family, and preparing for the New Year with all its promise and challenges.
Of course, for those of us in the Southern Hemisphere, we have the advantages of all the goodwill of the season, the time off from work, and the excellent weather in which to enjoy it all (though I'm hoping that 'excellent weather' manages to keep below the 38 degree mark - that's below 100 degrees in the Fahrenheit scale).
Festive season words include 'happy', 'cheer', 'merriment', and 'joy' - so enjoy your festive season with sharing and good will.
PS Heatwave or not, I'll be making fruit mince pies, as always. What's your favourite Festive Season food?