Olann

The Wonder of the Winter Solstice

Solas: Return to the Light

I wanted to take you back to last year’s yarn calendar and thank you again for your support. Last year’s inspiration and theme came from the wonder of the Winter Solstice that occurs in Newgrange, Ireland, on the shortest day of the year. Representing return of the light, solstitium, renewal and rebirth. Our theme was to reflect upon finding the light inside each of us in dark times, the circularity of light and life. Returning to the “grand stretch” of light after the darkest day of the year. 

In particular, we focused on an old Irish passage tomb dating to the Neolithic Age, known as Newgrange. Newgrange, or known in Gaeilge as Sí an Bhrú, is a 5,200 year old passage tomb located in the Brú an Bóinne in Ireland’s Ancient East.

Newgrange is most famous for the small opening or “roof-box” situated above the passage entrance. At dawn on the winter solstice a shaft of sunlight enters the chamber through the opening in the roof box. The sun shines directly along the long passage, illuminating the inner chamber and revealing the carvings inside, notably the triple spiral on the front wall of the chamber. This event lasts for 17 minutes, beginning around 9am. To the Neolithic culture of the Brú an Bóinne, the winter solstice marked the start of the new year, a sign of nature’s rebirth and promising renewed life to crops, animals and humans.

This year, we chose our theme around the Irish poet Patrick Kavanagh and specifically his poem Advent. We have always wanted to centre our calendar around Irish heritage, and found this poem to illicit some beautiful imagery and thus some beautiful colour potential. We will delve deep into the poem, the imagery and how we can contextualise it in a more modern and contemporary manner in the next blog post. 

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