Nationality: British European
Occupation: High School Substitute Teacher
Residence: Sherman Oaks, California
Date of Performance/Collection: March 20, 2020
Primary Language: English
Informant: I researched it and made it our own, and it changes constantly every year, but that’s to be expected. I’ve always done solstice when we were out here (America) because we were otherwise going back to England for Christmas and we didn’t want to go schlepping (moving) all the presents back, so we starting celebrating this.
Interviewer: So what is it that you do for the solstice?
Informant: I go out in the late afternoon and I pick Bay Leaves, Oak Leaves, and Ivy Leaves and I wash them and then I put them out to dry in the last rays of the sun. Traditionally I’m making pork and prunes on that day, so I put that on to cook. It is the first night we light the yule log. I build a fire in the fire pit, using what remains of last year’s log. We start around the fire making wishes with the leaves I left out to dry and throwing them into the fire. When we come in to eat, we eat take a light from the fire and light a candle then carry that light to the table where we’re eating. You are bringing light into the darkness. My husband also made me a yule log table decoration with fire candles in it for the five of us in the family.
Interviewer: You mentioned wishes with leaves, what kind of wishes do you make?
Informant: I can show you, I have it written down.
[Informant returns with a red book]
Informant: This is where I record all the big events that happen to my family every solstice. Here’s the wish list.
[Written information on a standard white piece of paper]
These leaves have been washed clean and dried in the last rays of the sun. Splash them with whatever you’re drinking and drop them into the fire with a wish. This is a time of giving so your wishes should not be for yourself but for the good of others.
For friendship, fidelity, and affection
For luck, also strength, endurance and vigor
For health and Protection
This is also a time for letting go, making amends or saying farewell.
Write your regrets and resentments on a slip of paper and toss them into the fire.