SUMMIT, NJ - A special Winter Solstice celebration at Beacon Unitarian Universalist Congregation will be held December 2, beginning at 4 p.m., with Summit and neighboring community members invited to enjoy the festivities, which will include songs, poems and a time of reflection on the midwinter darkness and return of the sun.
As part of the event, participants will craft garlands of natural pine and balsam and hang them on the railings inside and outside Beacon’s building.
Following the ceremony, those attending are invited to a community dinner in the congregation’s Fellowship Hall. Participants are asked to bring bread or a salad to share. A main course, beverage and cookies will be provided.
Beacon member Candice Chaleff introduced the 'Hanging of the Greens' more than a decade ago as an opportunity for children and adults to decorate the sanctuary together as part of Sunday morning services. This year, for the first time, the event will take place on a Saturday evening to honor the astronomical phenomenon of the shortest day and longest night of the year, which takes place in the Northern Hemisphere on December 21.
"We are moving the hanging of the greens to the evening in order to honor the tradition of solstice,” said Rev. Robin Tanner, minister of worship and outreach. “We will be anticipating the actual solstice through ritual and a shared meal on the 2nd. Then on Sunday morning, December 3, at 9:30 and 11:15 a.m., we will continue our solstice observation with song, service and some crafts. December is a time of year rich with meaning. We are hoping our celebrations this month will create space for those who draw their meaning from the earth."