The month of December is host to several religious holidays, but it also coincides with the winter solstice, when Northern Hemisphere-dwellers experience the darkest day of the year (officially happening at 8:28 a.m. on Thursday, December 21). Whether you want to dance under the moon or take a candlelit stroll, there are lots of ways to rival the gloom and keep your days warm and aglow. We've compiled them all below, from Seward Park's Solstice Trail Run to Conor Byrne's Winter Solstice Masquerade, and from Tavern Law's Halfway to Summer: Tiki and Spritz Party to Fremont's epic Feast of the Winter Solstice.
Jump to December 21
Winter Solstice Masquerade
Bask in the mystique of (almost) the longest night of the year at Conor Byrne's masqued ball with music by Sarah St. Albin and Heather Edgley + The Nobodies.
Seattle Secular Solstice
So many holiday stories and traditions focus on light: it's no wonder that Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and Advent call for lighting dozens of candles in the most depressing time of year. For those without such a tradition, Seattle Secular Solstice invites you, for the fourth year, to gather on the darkest day of the calendar to sing, eat food, and celebrate "empathy and evidence" (this year's theme). Meet these friendly secular folks at the University Christian Church for your December dose of cheery humanism.
SeaMuse Winter Solstice Concert
Hear Celtic and Balkan tunes, seasonal songs and poems, strings plucked and bowed, clarinet, and drums from SeaMuse who will be performing, appropriately enough, at Cafe Solstice.
Seward Solstice Trail Run
Choose between a 4.2-mile or 10k trail run in Seward Park's old growth forest to ring in the forthcoming Yule.
NOCCO: Mystics, Servants, & Devils
Just in time for the winter solstice, North Corner Chamber Orchestra will present a program that juxtaposes the old world with the new, bringing together mystical sensibilities involving magic and religious devotion. Enjoy the premiere of Seattle composer Jim Knapp's latest piece, commissioned directly by NOCCO, as well as Arvo Pärt’s Fratres, the Brandenburg Concerto #1 by J.S. Bach, and Stravinsky’s Soldier’s Tale.
A Bonsai Solstice
A couple of days before the darkest night of the year, experience sundown in the candlelit Pacific Bonsai Museum's garden while Gary Stroutsos plays Native American flute.
Halfway to Summer: Tiki and Spritz Party
The solstice means we're halfway to summer's warm embrace. Celebrate by getting in a more heliolithic state of mind with colorful Wray & Nephew tiki cocktails and bright, cheery Aperol Spritzes. Come to Tavern Law clad in tiki or tropical attire for a shot at a prize for best dressed.
Winter Solstice Meditation
It's a Chinese tradition for families to eat Tang Yuan (sweet, gingery balls of rice) on the longest day of the year to symbolize "reunion and completion." Taste the winter solstice delicacy as you reflect on the year in a guided meditation at the Cloud Room.
Solstice Walks at Bloedel Reserve
A parade of lanterns will light up the darkest days of the year at this annual winter solstice walk. Choose between the all-ages walks on December 17 and 18, or opt for the boozier walks on December 19 and 20.
Breakfast for Dinner!
To celebrate the darkest day of the year, Coastal Kitchen is serving the most important meal of the day for dinner. They'll serve their "blunch" menu all evening, as well as their "Don't Judge Me Happy Hour" and "Every Day Happy Hour."
Cloudburst Solstice Mai Tais
Bust out your Hawaiian shirt and brighten up the darkest day of the year with beers and mai tais from Cloudburst Brewing at the Pine Box.
Feast of the Winter Solstice
Join the Fremont Arts Council on the longest night of the year to celebrate the season with shared dishes, colorful costumes (the suggestions span from "dance floor royalty" to "high animal spirits," so don't be shy), art, and live music.
Winter Solstice Candlelight River Walk
Revelers are invited to join carolers in strolling along downtown Snohomish's candlelit Riverfront Trail, which will be aglow with light from hundreds of luminarias.
Winter Solstice Party at Mr. West
Brighten up the longest day of the year with sparkling wine, champagne cupcakes, and a shopping area with candles and gifts.
Winter Solstice at Vermillion
The holidays are the best time to get weird, so this week talented local marimba player Erin Jorgenson will play an evening set of seasonal cover songs for the longest night of the year, accompanied by the Murkies with Angelina Baldoz.