Secular Solstice

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The Secular Solstice is a secular humanist event started in New York City in 2013 by Raymond Arnold.[1][2][3][4] It is celebrated annually on the winter solstice (or a nearby convenient date) by secular groups such as the Sunday Assembly.[5]


The origin of the secular solstice began after Arnold invited 20 friends to his house in 2011 for a holiday gathering.[6] There, they "ate some food, sang some songs, and lit some candles" and "told stories about why the universe was the way it was and about what kind of people we wanted to be".[7] At the end of the gathering they extinguished the last candle in the room and sat for a moment in darkness. The first official Secular Solstice event was held in 2013 in New York City and was funded through Kickstarter.[7] In 2014, secular solstice events were also held in Oakland, California (in the Humanist Hall at the Fellowship of Humanity), as well as in Seattle, San Diego, and Leipzig, Germany.[3][8]

To fund the 2014 Solstice, Raymond Arnold created another Kickstarter funding round which raised $8,157 from 164 backers.[9] From 2014-2017 the New York City secular solstice was held in the main auditorium at the New York Society for Ethical Culture.[10]


Recordings of 11 original Secular Solstice songs were released on bandcamp in June 2014.[11] In December 2018, an Indiegogo fundraiser was launched to cover production costs for a new professionally recorded Secular Solstice album.[12]


  1. ^ Robbins, Liz (20 December 2013). "During Religious Season, Nonbelievers Assert Right to Celebrate". The New York Times. Retrieved 18 December 2018.
  2. ^ Lee, Adam (12 October 2014). "Brighter Than Today: The 2014 Secular Solstice". Daylight Atheism. Retrieved 18 December 2018.
  3. ^ a b Kimberly Winston. "Secular Solstice: Doing good for goodness’ sake". Washington Post, 16 December 2014.
  4. ^ Zhang, Linch (14 December 2016). "Can the 'Secular Solstice' Become the Post-Ironic Celebration of Our Generation? One Game Designer's Foray Into Redesigning Tradition". Huffington Post. Retrieved 18 December 2018.
  5. ^ Local Solstices 2015
  6. ^ "Ritual Report: NYC Less Wrong Solstice Celebration". 20 December 2011. Retrieved 23 December 2018.
  7. ^ a b "Brighter Than Today: A Secular Solstice". Kickstarter. Retrieved 18 December 2018.
  8. ^ Raemon (23 December 2014). "State of the Solstice 2014". Retrieved 19 December 2018.
  9. ^ "Secular Solstice 2014". Kickstarter. Retrieved 18 December 2018.
  10. ^ "Winter Secular Solstice 2017: Generations". Retrieved 18 December 2018.
  11. ^ "Brighter Than Today: A Secular Solstice, by Raymond Arnold". Raymond Arnold. Bandcamp. Retrieved 20 December 2018.
  12. ^ "Secular Solstice Album". Indiegogo. Retrieved 20 December 2018.

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