Whether your in the Northern or the Southern Hemisphere, the December Solstice is an event turning the seasonal tables. Here in the Pacific Northwest, December 21st marks the first day of Winter and the beginning of longer days to come. For the Spring feverish gardener its a time to celebrate. For our Ancestors the Winter Solstice was a season of rebirth, contributing to celebrations, customs and traditions carrying on well into our day.
Did you know…
The word Winter originates over a thousands years ago from Proto-Indo-European (wed) and (wind) meaning wet and white. Proto-Germanic adopted the term Wentruz which means “time of water”. Soon after Old English pronounced it Winter and it has stuck ever since. The term Solstice comes from the Latin (sol) and (sistere) meaning “to stand still”, as the sun appeared to no longer adjust itself on the earths horizon.
Many ancient societies viewed the winter solstice as a sacred time to be celebrated. The first centuries Roman Empire considered December 25th to be the rebirth of their Sun God “Sol Invictus” (The Unconquered Sun), bringing another year of light and warmth. In an attempt to appeal to and draw in such pagans, Christendom embraced this as the birth of the Son of God thus setting the date for modern Christmas.
Globally those who experience the wet and white make the most of this time to cozy in and cheer their warmth with friends. Here in the Pacific Northwest we cheer with world renowned beer and wine. Currently Portland has more breweries than any other city in the world! Oregon alone has over 600 wineries and 180 independent breweries with jolly drinkers consuming more than 500 thousand barrels of native beer annually.
Unlike the fruitful days of summer, winter may provide very little forage to gather. Nonetheless, with a careful eye, one can still spot out some hardy greens. Next time you decide to take a walk, keep watch for these healthy snacks.
With Winter fully set in one thing is for sure, Spring is around the corner and so is yet another year of vegetation and foraging. So till the Sun warms the ground and gives rise to another year of Earths glory, I’ll be passing this “time of water” with a glass of craft and some healthy snacks.
Till next time, HAPPY FORAGING!