Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Winter Solstice

On December 21 - the shortest day of the year - we celebrated the Winter Solstice with our friends the Watts.  This is a long standing tradition of theirs but our first time to join in!

Originally I thought we were going to Mt. Tabor (just 30 minutes from our house) but it turns out I misunderstood and we were going to Mt. Hood - which ended up being almost 2 hours from our house!  I was just a little off.  Despite the long car ride we had a great time and are so glad we went.

We went to a "undisclosed location" up on Mt. Hood.  There was a nice covered picnic area where we set up dinner.  Clark got the fire going so we could roast hot dogs for dinner.
 Hannah came along for our adventure!
 The dinner buffet - everyone brought something to share.
 Merrill prepares the sacrificial tree with some help from Clark.

 Cali is the torch bearer.
 Heading out for the tree burning.
 Tradition has it that a tree must be burned on the winter solstice
 The “mighty oak” was the most sacred tree of Europe, representing the waxing sun, symbolized endurance, strength, protection, and good luck to people in the coming year. On the winter solstice, on the longest night of the year, people would place and set afire a giant oak log in a community fire pit or families would place a smaller oak log in their fireplace.

 Our mighty oak!
 We each had a newspaper ornament we we placed in the tree (for fuel) and shared something we were grateful for from the past year.
 2012 - the Year of the Dragon.  Merrill shared a few words, a poem and his wooden dragon to symbolize the Year of the Drago.

 Cali - ready to be sacrificed!

 Cali, Tessa, Hannah, Kelsi and Lindsey - pretty girls!

 The remains of the day!
Despite the long drive and the cold it was quite an adventure and so much fun!  It is always an adventure with the Watts!

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