A very long time ago, someone noticed something, and felt inclined to share it.
Living in the Northern part of our globe meant that, as the sunrise happened further toward the South, the darkness of night lasted longer, and the Sun rose lower in the sky when it bothered to make an appearance at all, and it also set well south of West.
Wherever our northern ancestors were, they had noticed that, in the early fall, the sun rose in a noticeably different place every morning, moving southward as it went. They had also noticed that, as the nights got longer, the southward progress of Sunrise also slowed.
Eventually it stopped moving southward to rise, rose in about the same place for a week or so, then slowly started to move northward. As the position of sunrise and sunset moved further northward, the nights became slowly shorter. In the far North, of course, the sun didn’t rise at all in mid-winter, and nor did it set in midsummer.
Noticing the position of sunrise, and which direction the sunrise was moving, could tell our ancestors what part of the season they were in, and how soon the changes of season would come. This is information could mean the difference between living and dying for our ancestors.
In order to remember these things, our non-literate ancestors told stories and sang songs so that their children would benefit from their observations. Because they knew the light would return after this day, they held great feasts. During this time, we began to look toward the heavens for the promise of things to come, and we have had astrologers in our midst ever since.
All of this was noticed long before history was ever recorded in words, or details were ever recorded in stone for posterity.
The religions that have developed and survived into the modern era have evolved from those stories, songs, and festivals. Our modern science has found ways to describe the seasonal phenomena in ways that are common to all people regardless of religion.
The return of the light, a festival of great celebration in the Northern tribes, has been adopted by the church as a pseudo-birthday for the christian savior who, being of common birth, never had his true birth date recorded. As the Sun provides sustenance for all life, so the church sees their savior as providing sustenance for the soul. And so a new song was made, and a new tradition started, so that the observations of our pre-literate ancestors were lost in the mythos of the birth of the christian savior.
When a religious person announces to the world that “Jesus is the reason for the season”, I can confidently turn the statement around and say to myself “no, the season is the reason you celebrate Jesus on this day”...and all because many astrologers in many places a long time ago cared enough to share what they observed.
Wishing you all a wonderful solstice celebration, regardless of the name you attach to it !!!