Depending on where Hanukkah lands, the Winter Solstice is sometimes the first holiday of the season, and the one that is celebrated the least, except for those few scientists that are now stealing it, and claiming it is theirs. But those scientists were not the first ones to steal this holiday. It has been stolen many times over and adapted to fit many religions, but it gets its origins in the Celtic tradition. (And yes, you would say that with a hard C, not like what the people from Boston have done when they stole the name as well.)
It has been the tradition of these people to have their customs and holidays stolen in order to repress their beliefs. The first people to do it were the Christians. When the Romans started to take over the British Isles, and they ran into the Celtic people, they encountered a very popular holiday on the Winter Solstice. They hoped to combat the popularity of this day among the people they were trying to incorporate into their empire, so they came up with a holiday to become more popular. They took some of the Anglo-Saxon traditions from one of their legends, Krampus, and blended it together with the birth of Jesus to create Christmas. The Winter Solstice never had a chance.
But this pagan holiday had a lot of great philosophy behind it that it could offer the world. The Celtic people believed that this was the start of the New Year, and if you think about it, it makes more sense that it lands on this day instead of January 1st. It is the shortest day out of the year. It is the time of absolute death if we look at the condition of nature at this time. The only thing left for it is, the renewal that will eventually bring us life again. It is a time of rebirth for us as well. If we look back at those pesky scientists again, we can see that this is the time that the sun starts to thaw out the world and we can eventually shed off those winter clothes to enjoy the fruits of spring. There are a lot of similarities between this holiday and what we do when we celebrate the New Year.
It all comes back to those Celts and the way they looked on the world. We do not know a lot about them anymore, but we still hold on to a lot of their traditions, claiming that they were originally created by other traditions. So as you celebrate your holidays during the next couple of days, think back to the Celts and give them thanks for all of the traditions that we enjoy now.