Tomorrow evening marks the start of the longest night - midwinter solstice. I shall be doing my usual, which involves spending the night outdoors in contemplation; however this year I will be doing a little more than usual, as circumstances have converged and the timing is ideal.
Although solstice doesn't really mark a formal festival for me, I spend the solstices in contemplation of my ancestors lives. I do this at the solstices partly because there are megaliths which have been shown to be aligned with either the midwinter, or midsummer solstice, so the solstice must have held some significance, even if modern man is not sure what. Generally, Samhainn is considered the time of the ancestors but, as time passes, I feel this is not necessarily the best time for their particular veneration, given in the myths it seems a time of games, boasts of past achievements, feasting and general celebration, though I would agree that, as with Bealltainn, our world and the otherworld seem closer.
I enjoy winter, as with the longer evenings/nights, I find myself more productive, perhaps because I am more focussed on the internal, be it home or dialogue, and not allowing outside distractions allows me to spend time more wisely, even efficiently. It doesn't matter why though, I just enjoy the season for a number of reasons, including snow. Winter is definitely my season and I would probably celebrate its zenith, regardless of whether or not a festival had been associated with it - christmas, Eponalia, Saturnalia, Jul, Mother's Night - or the megaliths had no peculiar alignment to the sunrise/sunset at midwinter.
Whatever you celebrate at this time of year, or even if you don't, I should like to wish all readers of my sparsely populated blog, all the best for the holiday season, and a joyous and prosperous 2012.