The Winter Solstice

 

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This year, the Winter_Solstice  or Yule, the shortest day of the year,  will arrive on December 21.  In many Scandinavian countries it is celebrated with a HOT SPICED DRINK and a rich, aged fruit cake, known as YULE_or_SOLSTICE_CAKE.  The cake is traditionally decorated with candles to represent the light of the returning sun.  It is also often decorated with candied fruit and nuts.  In these northern climes, it is a way of celebrating the fact that from that day on, the days will begin to lengthen and the warm days of spring and summer will once again return.  There were many such traditions involving light which date from pre Christian times when it was though that such celebrations helped to hasten the return of the sun.  For more information about the Winter Solstice you may enjoy visiting this_site or this one.

In Northern Scotland it is the tradition in some communities to serve Solstice Bread or Sun Bread on the shortest day of the year.  In ancient times it was thought that making images of the sun would encourage it to return.  The funny thing is, this bread was also served on the longest day of the year, the Summer Solstice.   The loaves are made from a Basic_Rich_Yeast_Dough , similar to Challah.  It is shaped into a Sun in it’s Splendor. Sometimes the loaf has a sweet crumb, raisin and nut filling.  To make the filling use Streusel Topping and add raisins and nuts to taste.

Molded Scotch Shortbread Photo

On this day in the far northern Shetland Islands, it was the tradition to bake Shortbread into rounds with the edges fluted to represent the sun.  It may not truly encourage the sun to return but it is a tasty tradition.

                                                   

 

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