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Storytelling and the Winter Solstice


“Traditional storytelling is reserved for the winter months…” 

–Dennis Zotigh (Kiowa/Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo/Isante Dakota Indian) 

Accountings of Ojibwe history tell us that, for the people indigenous to this area, winter was a time for storytelling.  During other seasons, the people’s activities were focused on hunting, gathering, and growing food.  But during long dark nights in a bitter cold land, there was time for entertainment and the teaching of children.

Winter storytelling is a tradition grounded in the cycle of the seasons.  If you look far enough back in time at any non-tropical culture, you are sure to find stories being told after dark – and probably around a fire.  The fire is where people would gather for warmth and their stories would bind them together in community. 

“Stories can save us because the honest listening and telling of personal experiences naturally endears us to one another.” 

–Mark Yaconelli, The Hearth 

To honor this community-building tradition of yore, the Seasonal Celebrations team is trying something new this year!  Our Thursday, December 21st Winter Solstice Celebration will include a Storytelling Circle.  Participants will choose a winter- or solstice-themed story and perform in the Chalice Room after dessert. (Yes, we are practical people and are NOT planning to do the storytelling circle around the Yule fire.  Although anyone who chooses to hang out in the cold can tell stories there if they want!) The lineup of storytellers will be curated in advance with the help of local professional storyteller, Laura Packer. Listening to each other’s stories of the season will be a fun and meaningful way to spend the evening that culminates in the Winter Solstice at 9:27pm! 

But fear not!  For those of you who enjoy our longstanding tradition of folk dancing after dessert, that is still happening at our Friday, December 22nd event!   

Whichever night you choose is sure to be a delight!  We look forward to seeing you there!

This year’s Winter Solstice Celebrations: 

Thursday, December 21st and Friday, December 22nd 

  • 6:00pm Solstice dinner and caroling in the Lower Assembly Hall. 
  • Midwinter Revels program starts at 7:30, with music, poetry, a mummers’ play, and reflections in the Upper Assembly Hall.  
  • Desserts & hot chocolate in the Lower Assembly Hall, a Yule fire on the patio, and: 
  • Thursday, 12/21 – Storytelling Circle in the Chalice Room and instrumental music in the Lower Assembly Hall 
  • Friday, 12/22 – intergenerational folk dancing in the Lower Assembly Hall 

In person ticket sales at FUS on Sundays, Dec. 3, 10 & 17. 

Accepting cash, check, or credit card. 

Volunteer sign-ups are available at the ticket sales table. 

Early-bird prices (Friday, Dec 1, 12:00am – Sunday, Dec 17 @ 11:59pm) 

  • Adults — $20 
  • Youth (grades K – 12) — $8 
  • Pre-K — FREE 
  • $50 family maximum for 2 adults plus their K-12 children OR grandchildren


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