The longest day of the year today, with the old druids out around Stonehenge – not sure they are druids really, since the druids didn’t leave written records so I’m not certain they have much in the way of authentic information to base their ‘traditions’ on, but hey, they enjoy it and they don’t cause anyone any harm so why not. Anyone wishing to greet the rising sun in Edinburgh this morning would have been a little disappointed though, not to mention soggy, since a fine mist lay over the whole city – one of those mists that wrapped itself around the Castle until it almost vanished; look down from the bridge and you could see tendrils of it curling around the low-lying streets, like something from a 19th century Gothic novel. Somehow I always feel I should have a cloak and top hat on when the city is like this.
The shortest day of the year and – a vampire’s delight – the longest night, the Winter Solstice. A huge, glowing moon in the sky this morning when I woke up, with the rising sun beginning its ascent in the eastern sky at the same time as that as that shining moon descended in the west. A very ancient celebration, especially here in the British Isles, with many of the components and traditions absorbed by those pesky Christians (get your own traditions you spongers!!!) including such ‘Christmas’ staples as mistletoe (a Druidic staple as all Asterix readers know).
Partly a religious observation and a way of marking the seasons for our ancestors, it was also a good excuse to brighten up the long, cold nights of the Celtic winter by having a big-ass part with plenty of food, dancing and drink. So, not a lot of change there then, really for modern Scots. On which score I’ve tried not to let my nasty cold get in the way of catching up with chums this week for some drinks and food before Christmas hits. Or, as in tonight, combining food and drink in the same place – good company, fine ale and some warm grub on a cold night, life’s simple pleasures. Happy Solstice everyone.