Traditions, myths, and legends. Whatever word or term you use to describe wisdom from an era long gone, it's interesting how these ancient stories tend to still hold a special meaning today. Maybe it's because there's something exciting and alluring about such mystic beliefs. And nothing is as mysterious or miraculous as giving birth. Regardless of your personal stance on the matter, you might be surprised to find out some of the more peculiar old wives tales if born on the Winter Solstice. Whether your little one was delivered many moons ago or your due date is quickly approaching, understanding the cultural significance of having such a special birthday can be quite enlightening.
Before getting in to the specifics, it's helpful to understand what the technical meaning of Winter Solstice is. It's the, "time of year when days are shorter, nights are longer, the Earth’s Northern Hemisphere is as tilted away from the sun as it will ever be," according to the official website for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). However, the mythical representation of the Winter Solstice is, "an anniversary celebration of creation," Donna Henes, a rituals expert, told Huff Post. Perhaps it's not a coincidence then that old wives tales exist about the Winter Solstice's influence on a baby's birth, since both mark new beginnings.
Is your little one more likely to stir things up if they're solstice babies? "In Greek and Cypriot folklore it was believed that children born during the [solstice] festival were in danger of turning into Kallikantzaroi," educational consultant Dr. Alison Gunn told Beyond the Stars Astrology. These creatures would, "come out of the Earth after the solstice to cause trouble for mortals," Gunn further explained. In a way, it makes sense that babies born during that time might be seen as wild as the parties to celebrate the solstice were.
Prior to these modern times, winter was a difficult season and many cultures sought to find meaning in those unforgiving conditions. Fred Jennings, one of the owners of occult store Catland Books, told Refinery29 that the Druids viewed the Winter Solstice as a test of endurance and thus anything that survived the harsh night was exceptionally resilient. That's why evergreen plants, symbolic of lasting life, were often used in the ancient Celtic celebrations and rituals
According to The Old Farmer's Almanac, during the Winter Solstice in December 2017, "the full cold moon — also called the long nights moon — rises." So it's not surprising that the lunar phases play a role in certain old wives tales about babies born during the Winter Solstice. For instance, the Almanac also stated that December moon, Winter Solstice babies are more likely to be lucky and successful in life.
Recently, Dr. Xenia Gonda, an assistant professorat Semmelweis University in Budapest, wanted to find if there was any scientific evidence to verify the claims of Eastern European old wives tales and folklore. The study, which was published in the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology, stated that, "those born in the winter were significantly less prone to irritable temperament than those born at other times of the year." So there might actually be some truth to the superstition that Winter Solstice babies have a more pleasant disposition than others.
In ancient Austrian, German, and Swiss mythology, on the Winter Solstice, the goddess Holle (who embodies the three stages of womanhood, according to Encyclopedia Mythica) "checked the quality of each woman's work and offered rewards or punishment," as explained in the second volume of the Encyclopedia of Goddesses and Heroines by Patricia Monaghan. From those old stories came the folklore that babies born during Winter Solstice had the hardworking quality of the goddess Holle.
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