Friday, December 16, 2011

The Winter Solstice by John Matthews

Title: The Winter Solstice: The Sacred Traditions of Christmas
Author: John Matthews
Publication Date: 1998
Length: 241 pages

The Winter Solstice is a non-fiction book that examines the major traditions and symbols associated with the Winter Solstice and Christmas, and goes into great detail about their history and meaning. Major topics include Santa Claus, the evergreen tree, and the Child of Wonder (ie. Jesus, Mithras, the Sun).

I'm very picky about non-fiction, as it easily gets too long and dry for my liking, but this book passed the test. It's broken up into short, easily digestable sections, with lots of pictures, and I felt like it didn't have a lot of filler, even though it's pretty long.

I think this book is especially good for people who celebrate both the Solstice and Christmas due to upbringing, family compromises, etc. It really shows you how similar the two holidays are, since Christmas essentially developed from the Winter Solstice celebrations. I also think it's great for people who are celebrating on their own or just with their own families, who don't have a large community to practice their traditions with. The book really left me with the feeling that I am perfectly capable of celebrating the passing of the seasons with just what I have in my own home.

Overall, I recommend this to anyone who celebrates the Winter Solstice, as well as to anyone who celebrates Christmas and wants to know more about its history (though that depends on your taste, as there are probably more Christian-aimed books that do this).

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