In ancient past, many millenia ago, our ancestors were strongly tied to the earth and its cycles. The world was mystical and mysterious and events in the night sky and cycles of nature were the stuff of magical stories and beliefs. People believed if they pleased the gods and goddesses their lives would be abundant and so they held celebrations and rituals honoring these external sources.
Imagine the fear first people– who upon realizing the days were getting shorter and the sun less strong believed the world was coming to an end. They did not know how they would cope in a world of darkness. So they made supplications and when the days began to get longer, believed their pleas had been heard and their offerings accepted.
In the more recent agricultural past, winter season was a time to allow the earth to regenerate itself, to mend and repair equipment, to plan for the next year and to perhaps work a little less hard. It represented the end of one cycle of the year and the beginning of the next.
In many parts of the world, people still celebrate Winter Solstice as a new beginning and a chance to connect with nature and appreciate the cycles as we make our way physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually from darkness into light, accepting the opportunity to be reborn.