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Occupy Detroit Marks Winter Solstice With Inclusive Celebration At Grand Circus Park

Occupy Detroit

The Huffington Post   First Posted: 12/21/11 09:00 AM ET Updated: 12/21/11 09:49 AM ET

Winter is just getting started, but Occupy Detroit is here to tell you that starting on Dec. 21, the days are only getting brighter.

Maggie McGuire, who is in the arts and culture working group of Occupy Detroit, came up with the idea to celebrate the winter solstice at Grand Circus Park with her mom, Laura Freeman.

"Occupy Detroit really became a family," McGuire said. "And the holidays are a time to get together with your family and share a celebration together."

The winter solstice will occur at 12:30 a.m. on Thursday, marking the first day of winter. While it is sometimes known as a pagan holiday, historically it has been celebrated by people across the globe to mark rebirth and the beginning of days getting longer.

"It's good to be able to connect to the world in a real physical way, McGuire said. "It's dark, and it's going to get more light. That's not a Hallmark card, that's the world we live in."

McGuire said that while Occupy members have accomplished serious work -- from stop foreclosure actions to voter registration -- since Occupy Detroit vacated Grand Circus Park in November, there has been a desire among the group to come together, not for decision making, but socially.

So she planned an event where people can make music, drink cider and maybe march -- McGuire purposely kept the programming loose to keep the event informal and about togetherness.

"It's inclusive, no one's going to be put off by it," she said.

Occupy Detroit protesters dismantled their downtown camp after their city permit ran out and after the weather turned cold. According to McGuire, the group plans to come back to Grand Circus Park once the weather allows. Currently, members are working on fixing up a building in southwest Detroit to use as a community space, as well as improving several vacant houses.

The Grand Circus Park solstice event is open to everyone, and anyone who is interested in the Occupy Detroit cause should consider themselves part of it, McGuire said.

"Bus drivers who drive by and honk their horn are just as much a part as the most die-hard political activist," she said. "It's just like your family's holiday party, but we won't play any party games."

The Winter Solstice celebration will take place from 7 to 10 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 21 at Grand Circus Park.

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  • Brighton, England

    BRIGHTON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 21: Starlings come home to roost on Brighton's Old Pier as the sun sets on December 21, 2011 in Brighton, England. Today marks the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

  • Brighton, England

    BRIGHTON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 21: People watch starlings come home to roost on Brighton's Old Pier as the sun sets on December 21, 2011 in Brighton, England. Today marks the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

  • Brighton, England

    BRIGHTON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 21: A giant lantern burns at the end of the Burning The Clocks Festival on Brighton Beach on December 21, 2011 in Brighton, England. The annual celebration is enjoyed by thousands of people who carry paper lanterns through the streets of Brighton culminating on Brighton Beach where the lanterns are burnt and the Winter Solstice is marked. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

  • Brighton, England

    BRIGHTON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 21: People carry lanterns at the Burning The Clocks Festival on December 21, 2011 in Brighton, England. The annual celebration is enjoyed by thousands of people who carry paper lanterns through the streets of Brighton culminating on Brighton Beach where the lanterns are burnt and the Winter Solstice is marked. (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

  • Wiltshire, England

    WILTSHIRE, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 22: Druids, pagans and revellers cheer as the sun rises at Stonehenge on December 22, 2011 in Wiltshire, England. The unseasonable warm weather encouraged a larger than normal crowd to gather at the famous historic stone circle to celebrate the sunrise closest to the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

  • Stonehenge, England

    STONEHENGE, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 22: Hundreds of druids and pagans celebrate the winter solstice at Stonehenge on December 22, 2009 in Wiltshire, England. Hundreds of people gathered at the famous stone circle to celebrate the sunrise closest to the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

  • Stonehenge, England

    SALISBURY, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 22: Druids conduct a sunrise service at Stonehenge on December 22, 2010 in Wiltshire, England. Hundreds of people gathered at the famous historic stone circle to celebrate the sunrise closest to the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

  • Stonehenge, England

    SALISBURY, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 22: Revellers dance in the snow after druids conducted a sunrise service at Stonehenge on December 22, 2010 in Wiltshire, England. Hundreds of people gathered at the famous historic stone circle to celebrate the sunrise closest to the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

  • Stonehenge, England

    SALISBURY, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 22: Druids conduct a sunrise service at Stonehenge on December 22, 2010 in Wiltshire, England. Hundreds of people gathered at the famous historic stone circle to celebrate the sunrise closest to the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

  • Stonehenge, England

    STONEHENGE, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 22: Druid Arthur Uther Pendragon, formally known as John Rothwell, conducts a service at Stonehenge on December 22, 2009 in Wiltshire, England. Hundreds of people gathered at the famous stone circle to celebrate the sunrise closest to the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)

  • Stonehenge, England

    WILTSHIRE, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 21: A woman touches the stones at Stonehenge on December 21, 2008 in Wiltshire, England. Hundreds of people gathered at the famous stone circle to watch the sun rise on Winter Solstice - the shortest day of the year. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

  • Stonehenge, England

    SALISBURY, UNITED KINGDOM - DECEMBER 22: A girl rests between stones as a man plays the didgeridoo at Stonehenge on December 22, 2006 in Salisbury, England. Hundreds of people attended the Winter Solstice at Stonehenge, the cause for a pagan celebration, held on the shortest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. (Photo by Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images)

  • Stonehenge, England

    SALISBURY, UNITED KINGDOM - DECEMBER 22: A Solstice participant makes his way from Stonehenge on December 22, 2006 in Salisbury, England. Hundreds of people attended the Winter Solstice at Stonehenge, the cause for a pagan celebration, held on the shortest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. (Photo by Daniel Berehulak/Getty Images)

  • Xian, China

    XIAN, CHINA - DECEMBER 22: (CHINA OUT) A woman dressed in traditional costume of Han nationality, offers food as scarifies to Heaven, during a heaven-worship ceremony to mark the winter solstice festival which falls today, at the Xian Museum on December 22, 2007 in Xian of Shaanxi Province, China. The Winter Solstice became a festival during the Han Dynasty (206 BC-220 AD). The Northern hemisphere on this day experiences the shortest daytime and longest nighttime. (Photo by China Photos/Getty Images)

  • Sofia, Bulgaria

    Sofia, BULGARIA: Bulgarian dancers from the town of Yambol perform an old pagan traditional dance named Koleduvane, in central Sofia, 20 December 2005. Koleduvane is an important ancient pagan festival which coincides with the Winter Solstice in December, and celebrates the birth of the Sun. The Christian religion has tied it to the festival for the birth of Christ. Thus, usually.Koleduvane is performed at Christmas eve to wish health, good luck and fertility to the heads of households, to their houses, livestock and land. (Valentina Petrova/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Stockholm, Sweden

    Stockholm, SWEDEN: Julia Phan, 11, stands still while Rose-Marie von Braun (L), and Anne-Marie Soderqvist (R) light candles on her crown of Lucia Queen of Lights and other girls dressed as her maidens stand in the background at the Johannes School in Stockholm 13 December 2005. In the darkest time of the year, near the winter solstice, Swedish tradition bids young girls to act Lucia and her maidens, waiting upon people on their bedside, offering them buns and coffee. Boys dress up like Santa Claus or Saint Staffan. Lucia originally was a Sicilian saint who had sufffered martyrdom. (Jack Mikrut/AFP/Getty Images)

  • San Andres, El Salvador

    Mayan priests make offerings during an indigenous ceremony commemorating the winter solstice at the ceremonial center of San Andres, in San Andres, El Salvador, Sunday Dec 18. 2011. The winter solstice falls on Thursday Dec. 22. (AP Photo/Luis Romero)

  • San Andres, El Salvador

    A Mayan priest leads people in an indigenous ceremony to commemorate the winter solstice at the ceremonial center of San Andres, in San Andres, El Salvador, Sunday Dec 18. 2011. The winter solstice falls on Thursday Dec. 22. (AP Photo/Luis Romero)

  • Shaoxing, China

    n a picture taken on November 8, 2011, Chinese workers start the annual Shaoxing wine-making for the lunar calendar winter solstice at a Shaoxing winery, in Shaoxing, east China's Zhejiang province. Shaoxing wine is one of the most famous varieties of Huangjiu, or traditional Chinese fermented rice wine, and been in production since the imperial days, and large quantities are stored in the classic Shaoxing wine containers over long periods of time. Shaoxing wines are now exported and sold as vintage wines in may countries. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Minsk, Belarus

    People enjoy a sleigh ride as they celebrate the Christmas carol rite (Koliady) in the village of Pogost, some 250 km south-east of Minsk, on January 7, 2011. Koliady is an ancient pagan holiday initially celebrated on winter solstice but since appropriated to celebrate Christmas, New Year according to the Julian calendar, and other winter holidays. (Viktor Drachev/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Edinburgh, Scotland

    The New Years Eve celebration of Scotland is called Hogmanay. Photo: Torchlight procession on Calton Hill, Edinburgh

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