The Winter Solstice has traditionally been celebrated in all cultures for at least 5,000 years as marking the point where the days start getting longer. Maes Howe in Orkney (north of Scotland) is a very large chambered cairn (about 100 feet in diameter and 22 feet high on the outside: the interior chamber is about 14 feet square and about the same height). The 45 foot long entrance way is constructed so that the setting sun shines directly through the passageway onto the back wall of the cairn on the shortest day of the year, setting directly over a stone (the Barnhouse Stone) placed a half-mile or so from the entrance.
Pre-historic/neolithic peoples were acute astronomers. It is well-known that the Mayan long calender is more accurate than our current calender with its leap years every four years and “super leap years” at the turn of the century once every 400 years.
Subsequent religious year-end myths were manifestly modeled on the celebration of the Winter Solstice. So during this winter holiday season, I wish you all a Happy Winter Solstice. Spring is coming.