It’s the winter solstice. Here are 5 ways people celebrate the return of light

The winter solstice is celebrated globally as it signifies the return of longer days, with each culture honoring it in its unique way.

The Global Picture: The winter solstice marks a time of global celebration and ritual, celebrated differently across various cultures.
* The solstice happens when the Earth reaches its maximum tilt away from the sun, marking the shortest day and longest night of the year.
* Traditionally, it has been seen as a time of renewal.

Cultural Celebrations: Here’s a look at five diverse ways winter solstice is marked worldwide.
* In places such as Iran, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, and Uzbekistan, the Shab-e Yalda celebration represents the victory of light over darkness with feasting, poetry readings, and the consumption of symbolic foods like pomegranates and watermelons.
* During Dongzhi, a notable date on the traditional Chinese calendar, families in China come together to eat dishes like tangyuan (glutinous rice balls) or dumplings.
* In Peru, Inti Raymi celebrates the Incan sun god with mock sacrifices and feasts in the ancient city of Cusco.
* The Soyal ceremony by the Native American Hopi tribe involves gift-giving, dancing, and storytelling, as they await the return of the protective spirits called katsinas.
* In Japan, customs during the Toji involve both unique eating and bathing practices intended to bring luck and healing.

Traditions and Symbolism: Each celebration carries its specific symbols and meanings, aligning with the ultimate theme of the returning light.
* Traditions often involve coming together as a community or family, celebrating with specific foods, engaging in rituals symbolizing renewal, and welcoming the return of the sun.
View original article on NPR
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