From Solstice to Equinox

We have a simple tradition on weekday winter mornings. Each morning, we sit down to eat breakfast, as a family, and light a candle. The sun is not up, so the glow of the flame just helps to start our day. In the last few weeks, the sun has risen by the time we have finished breakfast. There are windows facing the east, so we inevitably discuss the colour of the sky as the sun prepares to peep over the top of the hill.

The sun turned the snow a beautiful pinky-purple one morning. This morning, BL pointed out the yellow glow. When you watch the sun rise every day, it’s not hard to notice the lengthening day. The children can see the shift.

If it sounds idyllic….to be honest, it is. (Life isn’t always, so I’m going to embrace the moments that are!) The children are considerably calmer and mindful at the table. They are aware of the candle and have no desire to accidently knock it over. They eat their porridge all up, because that’s the way they earn the right to blow out the candle at the end of breakfast. (I re-light it so that they all can have a go.) Their awareness of the seasons changing, is an unintended, added bonus.

This weekend, we started doing some seasonal crafting. Something that I want to do more of this year. Candlemas/Imbolc/Festival of lights is one of those celebrations that we usually just nod our heads to. This year it struck me that celebrating the day halfway between the shortest day and the the spring equinox, fitted perfectly with our morning candle.

As I read around the subject, I was very taken by the idea that this was the time traditionally, that the lighting of the candle would be suspended for the season.* Enough sun to light our breakfast table and warm the earth outside ready for regrowth. Something worth celebrating. In our family, that most definitely involves craft activities.

I’ve created a list of activities and books to help us celebrate. To start with, we made origami lanterns, using flame resistant paper (origami lantern paper white sourced here). I sat down with each of the children in turn to fold the lanterns. The two girls needed minimal help, while TF, at 5, was happy to watch me make his lantern and help with the creases. Next they all used watercolour paints on the paper. Finally adding glitter.

This is the first of our Candlemas crafting activities. Rather than do it all on Saturday, we have opted to spread it out over the week leading up. Expect a few more posts in the slowly lengthening days.

* We live in a cottage that is over 26o years old. Many families have lived here before us. I can’t help thinking about all the people that have risen on dark winter mornings and lit a candle in the same room as we now light ours.

Linking up with the Magic Onion


16 thoughts on “From Solstice to Equinox

  • Wednesday 30 January, 2013 at 3:19 pm

    i’ve got nothing else to say except, i really like this post.

    • Thursday 31 January, 2013 at 12:08 am

      Oh melissa. Thank you for your comment.

  • Thursday 31 January, 2013 at 1:03 pm

    Oh you know I just love the history of your home… imagine all the meals from times gone by!!! Beautiful… I am so not encouraged to hear that your days are getting longer… I am just not ready to hear that at all!!!

    • Friday 1 February, 2013 at 12:03 am

      Oh no! I feel like I’m stealing daylight from you now! Never mind. It will be back with you again! 😀 😀

  • Thursday 31 January, 2013 at 6:13 pm

    Breakfast by candlelight…that sounds really lovely and the crafting projects look Great..we’ve been sewing… I took a deep breath and introduced the girls to the sewing machine…and they are smitten :0)

    • Thursday 31 January, 2013 at 11:57 pm

      Eek! You’re ahead of me there. We’re still talking about using the sewing machine. Hope the girls are having lots of fun.

  • Thursday 31 January, 2013 at 11:09 pm

    Saturday is my Mums birthday so Candlemas has always been a special celebration in our house…I love your ideas though and the picture of you all watching the sun rise! With a nearly 15 year old here, I’ll just leave it that our mornings are not nearly so idyllic! 😕

    • Thursday 31 January, 2013 at 11:56 pm

      I’m guessing our mornings will not always be the same. We’re yet to have a teenager in the house. I hope your mother has a lovely day. 😀

    • Friday 1 February, 2013 at 6:43 pm

      It does make a peaceful start to the day.

    • Friday 1 February, 2013 at 11:29 pm

      They glow beautifully in the evening. We’re enjoying them.

  • Sunday 3 February, 2013 at 11:25 am

    I always love reading your blog. I love that your house has such a long history and like you I would love to imagine all of the family moments spent there. I too love to start my day by candlelight and classical music in the background~very soothing!

    • Sunday 3 February, 2013 at 5:49 pm

      I like the idea of classical music. I can imagine it would be calming. I am fascinated by the history of our cottage. Nothing spectacular, but more about the social history of the times. I really should write a post about it one day.

  • Tuesday 5 February, 2013 at 4:56 pm

    Love your paper lanterns! It’s also such a great idea to spread the activities throughout the week. Can’t wait to see what else your family will be making 🙂

    • Tuesday 5 February, 2013 at 10:07 pm

      We did have fun. The children are keen to celebrate more of the seasonal dates, so more crafting to follow.

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