In the Philippines, we rarely give importance to the winter solstice. I think, only recently that it has come to more visible awareness because of the 2012 prophecy. So let's start of with some definition:
The winter solstice occurs exactly when the Earth's axial tilt is farthest away from the sun at its maximum of 23° 26'. Though the winter solstice lasts only a moment in time, the term is also a turning point to midwinter or the first day of winter to refer to the day on which it occurs. More evident to those in high latitudes, this occurs on the shortest day, and longest night, and the sun's daily maximum position in the sky is the lowest. The seasonal significance of the winter solstice is in the reversal of the gradual lengthening of nights and shortening of days. Depending on the shift of the calendar, the winter solstice occurs on December 21 or 22 each year in the Northern Hemisphere, and June 20 or 21 in the Southern Hemisphere.The 2010 winter solstice will occur on December 21, at 6:38 pm EST. -- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winter_solstice
But that's the scientific explanation of Winter Solstice. We don't usually relate to the term "winter" as its just usually wet and dry season here, but the real significance of this event is in the impact that it bears on us humans as habitants of the Earth. The changes in the position of celestial bodies affect us beings because our bodies are also made of almost 70% of water.
There are various colorful and meaningful events held during Winter Solstice. You can find a lot of these on the web, where most are listed here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winter_solstice#Observances
There is a reason too why most people associate the Winter Solstice with the paranormal, the unexplainable. Its simply because December 21 is usually the shortest day of every year. With this, night or darkness is unusually longer. This is what makes the strength of the unexplainable stronger. You've seen many horror movies exploiting this logic. Some of them are: Winter Solstice (2004), Winter Solstice (2005), The Reaping (2007). Its even associated to the great "end of the world" prophecy as stated in the Mayan calendar.
But, this year its a different experience. Its going to be one of the rare Winter Solstices ever! This year, we will have an eclipse too! For the first time in 500 years, we are going to experience this! Although its not explicitly said that we in the southeast asia may be able to witness this, I think for a brief moment, maybe we can! (I hope we can) Read more here: http://www.neatorama.com/2010/12/17/winter-solstice-and-lunar-eclipse/
Yet, I will tell you more about the positive things and effects that this could bring us. I'm fortunate enough to be in a lighter state before the winter solstice. So here are some tips I have gathered on how to make things better and easy for us on the Winter Solstice:
Clean - we'll need to clean the places where we usually stay in. This provides better movement of our energies in that particular place. This may be your immediate room, or even your office space. Declutter and put things in order. This will also relieve your mind of unnecessary noise and distraction.
Exercise - as with the space we move in, our body and what comprises our internals, our energy needs to flow freely to be in utmost optimal performance. This will help us get rid of negative emotions, and trivial diseases that are usually prevented by maintaining a healthy mind and body.
Fast - pass up on habitual practices. This may not necessarily mean food fasting, but we may choose to fast on items that we are usually full on.. like use of gadgets like mp3s, cellphones, internet browsing, etc. Even shedding on coffee intake for a day may be considered a form of fasting! This trains our willpower to take on any challenge that we may take on in the future.
Meditate - bring your mind to a peace. A blank mind doesn't necessarily mean its a quiet mind, but a focused mind is. As with decluttering, keep the mind noise free so we may attain communication with our higher self.
In the turn of seasonal change, keeping things in place and everything in peace would help us reach far better chances of survival in our changing world. True that the only constant thing is change, but there is one thing that wouldn't change--and that is how and why we are living.
We are part of nature. So, if we keep moving in its pace, we are keeping at a natural state of survival. So, be not afraid of the solstice. Its not the end of the world, but the end of one season, and the end of old negative ways. Breathe in the nature and let its energy keep us safe and alive.
PS: If you are like me (a stone lover), love your stones and bask with them under the beautiful moonlight of the Winter Solstice. Let the lunar love flow into you. :)