Ten Ways to Celebrate the Winter Solstice in Colorado

Taking the time to watch the sun rise or set can help make the short days feel longer.
Taking the time to watch the sun rise or set can help make the short days feel longer. Hannah Gartner
Despite all the snow that’s been falling across Colorado, it’s still autumn. The first day of winter will be Saturday, December 21, which is also the shortest day of the year. While the winter solstice marks the beginning of winter, it also marks the start of longer days. Remembering this can be integral to helping you survive the coldest and gloomiest parts of the season still to come.

Many cultures throughout history have celebrated the winter solstice, and it will be easy to join in here in Colorado. The state will see many solstice celebrations this coming weekend — some traditional, some anything but, and all a wonderful way to mark the return of the sun. Here are ten options:

click to enlarge Sunsets behind snowcapped mountains are a quintessential part of Colorado winters. - HANNAH GARTNER
Sunsets behind snowcapped mountains are a quintessential part of Colorado winters.
Hannah Gartner
A Light in the Darkness: A Winter Solstice Children's Day Celebration
Saturday, December 21, 4 p.m.
Boulder Shambhala Center, 1435 Spruce Street, Boulder

This event combines Children's Day and winter solstice traditions to spread both the joy of light and of giving back. It will begin with songs and a light procession, followed by a Children's Day blessing and a solstice story. After that, there will be a potluck meal. Although admission is free, you're encouraged to bring a wrapped gift that will be donated to refugee children through the Denver International Rescue Committee.

Colorado Skies: The Winter Solstice
Saturday, December 21, 2:30 p.m.
Fiske Planetarium, 2414 Regent Drive, Boulder
$10 for adults, $7 for kids/veterans/seniors

Spend the afternoon learning about the constellations in the winter solstice night sky, then go out and see them for yourself. This event at the Fiske Planetarium will teach the basics of Colorado stargazing, with information on what heavenly bodies are visible at this time of year and what tools should be used to see them.

Dark Night
Friday, December 20, and Saturday, December 21, 8 p.m.
Paradise Theatre, 215 Grand Avenue, Paonia

This is an annual winter solstice tradition at the Paradise Theatre, and well worth the trek out to Paonia. Hosted by renowned author Craig Childs, Dark Night is a multimedia experience unlike any other. This year, Childs will tell stories that focus on the theme of "time," accompanied by images of natural beauty and live music.

Drumming Up the Sun
Saturday, December 21, 6:30 a.m.
Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Morrison

Wake up early on the shortest day of the year to watch the sunrise from a place with what might be the most beautiful eastern-facing vista in the Denver area: Red Rocks. There will be a drum circle, so bring your hand drum if you have one; be sure to arrive by 6:30, since the sun will be rising at 7:17 a.m. The sunrise will be followed by a potluck and Yule ritual at the Living Earth House.

Maya Fuego Sagrado Winter Solstice Celebration
Saturday, December 21, 3:30 p.m.
El Pueblo History Museum, 301 North Union Avenue, Pueblo

The El Pueblo History Museum is hosting a Maya Fuego Sagrado celebration. The sacred fire will be lit and the ceremony will begin at 5 p.m., but you're encouraged to arrive at 3:30 p.m. in order to receive traditional limpias in exchange for offerings of two eggs or two limes, and two small white candles. You're also encouraged to dress in traditional garb: white clothing and red belts or headbands.

The Christmas Revels: A Midwinter Night’s Revels
Friday, December 20 through Monday, December 23, 7 p.m.
Dairy Arts Center, 2590 Walnut Street, Boulder
$28 for adults, $20 for kids.
The Revels are a winter solstice and Christmas tradition. This performance will feature the Rocky Mountain Revels, who will be imagining how Shakespeare interacts with the characters he penned after the famous scribe threatened to burn all of his manuscripts. The show repeats on December 26, when we'll be well into winter.

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