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December is upon us and the month is chock a block with holidays.

Different families, different cultures, different religions have different beliefs and different customs that are woven into celebrations, festivals and rituals. And those different customs can, in many ways, make us feel different from one another. It separates us into different human tribes.

But there is one day during this festive season that unites us all, the solstice day. This is the darkest night of the year for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere.

Watch this video for a quick tour around the history of Solstice celebrations:

In ancient times, festivals began at this time of year because, frankly, it was a bit frightening. Imagine the short days, the dark nights with little but oil lamps, fires and candles to provide light. The harvest would be done, food would be stored and people would hope it would be enough to last until the spring came once again. So, what did we do? We joined together, we feasted, we comforted one another with the knowledge that we all depended upon one another as much as we depended on all the other life around us.

For me, looking to the skies on solstice night is a reminder of a time when people had no choice but to be better at reading the language of nature and accepted, for better or worse, we were all one part of a rather mystifying whole. I find such considerations humbling and it actually fills me with peace. As do thoughts of cosy nights in woolly socks and mugs of hot chocolate another bonus of the nature related journey!

For those of you in the Southern Hemisphere, happy summer! That’s another, but similar story.