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:
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.
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.
The Sun Returns: Celebrate the Solstice with Bluebook and Inaiah Lujan
Saturday, December 21, 8 p.m.
Broadway Roxy, 554 South Broadway
Celebrate the winter solstice with creative light installations and the melodic sounds of Inaiah Lujan. Although there's a cover charge for this event, the show with Erika Ryann that starts at 6 p.m. is free. DJ Davey B. Gravey will be entertaining guests between sets; Inaiah Lujan’s performance will be followed by Bluebook.
Saturday, December 21, 6 p.m.
Joyful Ballroom, 3695 West 72nd, Westminster
$29 for adults, $19 for teens/students, $9 for kids 6-12, under 6 free
This is a winter solstice celebration for the community, filled with dancing, singing and lots of kid-friendly entertainment that celebrates both Christmas and the solstice. The highlights will be a Mummers play, a customary English sword dance, a Morris dance, a juggling performance, caroling, traditional American community dances and much more.
Winter Solstice Celebration Yoga
Saturday, December 21, 4 p.m.
Earth Treks Golden, 700 Golden Ridge Road, Golden
$25 members, $30 for non-members
Use the winter solstice as an excuse to do some relaxing inner work in a slow-paced yoga class that includes meditation, music, poetry, philosophy and community building. It's designed to set the tone for a new year filled with light and love and will last much longer than a typical yoga class, over two hours. There will be a potluck and party afterward, so bring some food to share.
Winter Solstice Walk
Saturday, December 21, 6:30 a.m.
Plains Conservation Center, 21901 East Hampden Avenue, Aurora
Starting the shortest day of the year with a sunrise walk will ensure that all hours of light are maximized. The Plains Conservation Center is hosting a winter solstice walk that's family-friendly (kids should be at least eight). Out on the plains, you'll have sweeping views of the sunrise over a rolling golden landscape.
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