Winter Solstice Celebrations in Denmark: A Growing Non-Religious Ritualisation

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Abstract

During the last decade, local celebrations of winter solstice on the 21st of December have increased all over Denmark. These events refer to the Old Norse ritual of celebrating the return of the light, and their appeal is very broad on a local community level. By presenting two cases of Danish winter solstice celebrations, I aim to unfold how we can understand these new ritualisations as non-religious rituals simultaneously contesting and supplementing the overarching seasonal celebration of Christmas. My material for this study is local newspaper sources that convey the public sphere on a municipality level. I analyse the development in solstice ritualisations over time from 1990 to 2020. Although different in location and content, similarities unite the new solstice celebrations: they emphasise the local community and the natural surroundings. My argument is that the winter solstice celebrations have grown out of a religiously diversified public sphere and should be understood as non-religious rituals in a secular context
Original languageEnglish
JournalReligions
Volume12
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2021

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