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Location: Western Canadian mtn valley, zone 6b, 750mm (30") precip
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I thought I'd like to wish everybody a happy Winter Solstice.

I don't actually think it's meaningless drivel to do so. But wasn't sure what other category it fits into.

The days will be getting longer. Out here in the southeast of our province, long experience has shown that - though we can get socked-in and the sky can be dim for days on end - the gradual lengthening of the daylight hours lifts people's moods.

But aside from that, we always host a Solstice gathering at our place. Maybe you do that, too, at someone's home. About 47 people is the most we've every been able to accommodate in our house, since outdoor conditions seem to make the large majority of people want to be inside in the evening. Good food, good refreshment, good company, good singing, good music on the stereo. It works!!

Anyhow, the real "new year" starts about now... so have a good one yourselves & your families.
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Location: Victoria British Columbia-Canada
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Traditionally a yule log was placed in the house and then replaced with a living tree on the 21st,  to signify rebirth. European Christians didn't want to give up the festival, so the meaning of it was altered to fit the new religion.

We have no idea when Jesus was born and we certainly know that the Romans never required anyone to return to their town of birth for a census.  Tax collection was a local affair.  The same guy did census reports. By year zero, there were Romans spread over the entire known world. It would have caused economic calamity to force a return. The frontier would have been left undefended.
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