Yule: Wikis

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Yule
Yule
Hauling a Yule log, 1832
Also called Yuletide, Yulefest, Yules, Jul, Juletid, Julfest, Jül, Jól, Joul, Joulu, Jõulud, Joelfeest, Géol, Feailley Geul, Midwinter, The Winter Solstice
Observed by Northern Europeans and Various Anglosphereans
Type Cultural, Pagan then Christian
Significance Winter Festival.
Date December 25. Various celebrations also occur on the winter solstice.
Celebrations Festivals, Burning Yule Logs, Feasting, Caroling, Being with Loved Ones.
Related to Christmas, The Solstice, Quarter days, Wheel of the Year, Winter Festivals

Yule or Yule-tide is a winter festival that was initially celebrated by the historical Germanic peoples as a pagan religious festival, though it was later absorbed into, and equated with, the Christian festival of Christmas. The festival was originally celebrated from late December to early January on a date determined by the lunar Germanic calendar. The festival was placed on December 25 when the Christian calendar (Julian calendar) was adopted. Some historians claim that the celebration is connected to the Wild Hunt[1] [2] or was influenced by Saturnalia, the Roman winter festival[3].

Terms with an etymological equivalent to "Yule" are still used in the Nordic Countries for the Christian Christmas, but also for other religious holidays of the season. In modern times this has gradually led to a more secular tradition under the same name as Christmas. Yule is also used to a lesser extent in English-speaking countries to refer to Christmas. Customs such as the Yule log, Yule goat, Yule boar, Yule singing, and others stem from Yule. In modern times, Yule is observed as a cultural festival and also with religious rites by some Christians and by some Neopagans.

Contents

Etymology

Yule is the modern English representative of the Old English words ġeól or ġeóhol and ġeóla or ġeóli, with the former indicating "(the 12-day festival of) Yule" (later: "Christmastide") and the latter indicating "(the month of) Yule", whereby ǽrra ġeóla referred to the period before the Yule festival (December) and æftera ġeóla referred to the period after Yule (January). Both words are thought to be derived from Common Germanic *jexwla-, and are cognate to Gothic (fruma) jiuleis and Old Norse jól (Danish and Swedish jul, Norwegian jol/jul) as well as ýlir.[4] The etymological pedigree of the word, however, remains uncertain, though numerous speculative attempts have been made to find Indo-European cognates outside the Germanic group.[5]

Germanic paganism

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Attestations

Gothic and Old English

Yule is attested early in the history of the Germanic peoples; from the 4th century Gothic language it appears in the month name fruma jiuleis.

About AD 730, the English historian Bede wrote that the Anglo-Saxon calendar included the months geola or giuli corresponding with either modern December or December and January.[6] He gave December 25 as the first day of the heathen year and wrote that the Anglo-Saxons celebrated all night long to honor the Germanic divine "mothers":

They began the year with December 25, the day some now celebrate as Christmas; and the very night to which we attach special sanctity they designated by the heathen term Mōdraniht, that is, the mothers' night — a name bestowed, I suspect, on account of the ceremonies they performed while watching this night through.[7]

Old Norse

In chapter 55 of the Prose Edda book Skáldskaparmál, different names for the gods are given. One of the names provided is "Yule-beings." A work by the skald Eyvindr skáldaspillir that uses the term is then quoted, which reads:

Again we have produced Yule-being's feast [mead of poetry], our rulers' eulogy, like a bridge of masonry.[8]

Ynglinga saga, the first book of Heimskringla, first mentions a Yule feast in 840. After 1000, it is the main feast of the year.[9] Saga of Hákon the Good credits King Haakon I of Norway with the Christianization of Norway, as well as rescheduling the date of Yule to coincide with Christian celebrations held at the time. The saga states that when Haakon arrived in Norway he was confirmed a Christian, but since the land was still altogether heathen and they retained their practices, Haakon hid his Christianity to receive the help of "great chieftains." In time, Haakon had a law passed that established that Yule celebrations were to take place at the same time as when the Christians held their celebrations, "and at that time everyone was to have ale for the celebration with a measure of grain, or else pay fines, and had to keep the holiday while the ale lasted."[10]

Yule had previously been celebrated on midwinter night for three nights, according to the saga. Haakon planned that when he had solidly established himself and held power over the whole country, he would then "have the gospel preached." According to the saga, the result of this was that his popularity caused many to allow themselves to be baptized, and some people stopped making sacrifices. Haakon spent most of this time in Trondheim, Norway. When Haakon figured that he wielded enough power, he requested a bishop and other priests from England, and they came to Norway. Upon their arrival, "Haakon made it known that he would have the gospel preached in the whole country." The saga continues describing the reactions of various regional things as they differ the matter to one another.[10]

A description of "heathen" Yule practices is provided (notes are Hollander's own):

It was ancient custom that when sacrifice was to be made, all farmers were to come to the heathen temple and bring along with them the food they needed while the feast lasted. At this feast all were to take part of the drinking of ale. Also all kinds of livestock were killed in connection with it, horses also; and all the blood from them was called hlaut [ sacrificial blood ], and hlautbolli, the vessel holding the blood; and hlautteinar, the sacrificial twigs [ aspergills ]. These were fashioned like sprinklers, and with them were to be smeared all over with blood the pedestals of the idols and also the walls of the temple within and without; and likewise the men present were to be sprinkled with blood. But the meat of the animals was to be boiled and served as food at the banquet. Fires were to be lighted in the middle of the temple floor, and kettles hung over them. The sacrificial beaker was to be borne around the fire, and he who made the feast and was chieftain, was to bless the beaker as well as all the sacrificial meat.[11]

The narrative continues that toasts were to be drunk. The first toast was to be drunk to Odin "for victory and power to the king", the second to the gods Njörðr and Freyr "for good harvests and for peace", and thirdly a beaker was to be drunk to the king himself. In addition, toasts were drunk to the memory of departed kinsfolk. This toast was called "minni [memorial toast]".[11]

The Svarfdæla saga records a story in which a berserker put off a duel until three days after Yule to honor the sanctity of the holiday.[12] The Grettis Saga refers to Yule as a time of "greatest mirth and joyance among men."[13] This saga is set soon after Iceland converted to Christianity and identifies Yule with Christmas: "No Christian man is wont to eat meat this day [Yule Eve], because that on the morrow is the first day of Yule," says she, "wherefore must men first fast today."[14]

Theories

Customs

Yule was an indigenous midwinter festival celebrated by the Germanic peoples, which was progressively absorbed into the Christian observations surrounding Christmas.[1] Simek says that the Yule feast "had a pronounced religious character", and Simek cites section 7 of Gulaþingslög, where Yule is described as celebrated "for a fertile and peaceful season" and consists of a fertility sacrifice. Simek says that focus was not on the gods of the Vanir, but instead the god Odin, and he notes that one of Odin's many names is Jólnir (Old Norse "yule figure"[15]). Simek says that Odin was associated with Yule, and that the tradition of the Wild Hunt undoubtedly contributed to the association of the two. According to Simek "it is uncertain whether the Germanic Yule feast still had a function in the cult of the dead and in the veneration of the ancestors, a function which the mid-winter sacrifice certainly held for the West European Stone and Bronze Ages." The traditions of the Yule log, Yule goat, Yule boar, Yule singing, and others stem from Yule customs, and Simek says these customs "indicate the significance of the feast in pre-Christian times."[16]

Dating

Specific dating is problematic. In the 13th century, the Old Norse month name ýlir (attested once) refers to the period of time between 14th November and 13th December.[17] The time of Yule falls within around the time of a month that corresponds with the end of the modern calendar year. Andy Orchard says that "in practice, it is difficult to specify the yule-tide period more accurately than at some point between about mid-November and the beginning of January."[1] Rudolf Simek says that the Old Norse timing "offers no point of reference for the sacrificial feast" and that "the identification with the mid-winter time of sacrifice is most likely."[18]

Other

Andy Orchard and Rudolf Simek theorize a connection between Yule and the Wild Hunt.[1][2] According to Prudence Jones and Nigel Pennick, the Yule feast may have originated from the Roman winter festival of Saturnalia.[3]

Contemporary traditions

Denmark

Danes celebrate on December 24[19], which is called Juleaftensdag (literally, Yule Eve Day), or simply Jul. An elaborate dinner is eaten with the family in the evening, consisting of roast pork, roast duck or roast goose with plain potatoes,caramelized potatoes, red cabbage and gravy. For dessert is rice pudding with a cherry sauce, traditionally with an almond hidden inside. The lucky finder of this almond is entitled to a small gift. After the meal is complete, the family gather around the Juletræ to sing Christmas carols and dance hand in hand around the tree. Then the children often hand out the presents which are opened immediately. This is followed by candy, chips, various nuts, clementines, and sometimes a mulled and spiced wine with almonds and raisins called Gløgg is served hot in small cups. Following the main celebration of Jul or Juleaften on December 24, December 25 and December 26 are, respectively, celebrated as Første Juledag and Anden Juledag, both holidays, and are generally filled with relaxed familial socializing and the enjoying of leftovers from the Juleaften meal. Some Danish families also celebrate December 23 as Lillejuleaften (Little Christmas Eve). Traditions for this day might include decoration of the Juletræ, enjoying roast duck, and caroling.

Great Britain

In the United Kingdom and other parts of the Anglophone world, the modern Yule or Yuletide is commonly associated with Christmas (along with Christmastide) which generally supplanted it around the 11th century other than in North East England[20] where it remained the usual word (and had the variants of yel and yul)[21], possibly being reinforced by the Norse influence (see Danelaw) on that region. It was revived in regular use in standard English during the 19th century however the name Yule log was recorded earlier in the 17th century.

Estonia

"Jõul" (singular), more commonly used in plural as "jõulud". Celebrated in line with the Finnish customs. The old tradition of celebrating the winter solstice has nowadays been predominantly replaced or mixed with Protestant or secularised Christmas holidays. Traditional "jõul" celebrations can still be encountered.

Traditionally, "jõulud" were sacred days marking the end of one season and the beginning of the new one. The Earth turned herself towards light, warmth, food and life. It was believed that one's behaviour in the times of jõul determined the good fortune of oneself and the whole household. The souls of deceased relatives were awaited back home; they were seen having a great deal of influence on the fortune of the living. The household was thoroughly cleaned, decorated and the most abundant dishes of the year were prepared. Dried straws were laid across the cleaned floors to signify the start of "jõulud". During the Yule time from 21 to 27 December a light had to be on at all times. Also, it had to be made sure light would not escape the house through the windows, so the latter were carefully covered.

It was a peaceful time for reflection and family, hence games and riddles were played.

Finland

On the eve of the Finnish Joulu, children are visited by Joulupukki, a character similar to Santa Claus. The word Joulupukki means "Yule Goat" and probably derives from an old Finnish tradition where people called nuuttipukkis dressed in goat hides circulated in homes after Joulu, eating leftover food. Joulupukki visits people's homes and rides a sleigh pulled by a number of reindeer. He knocks on the front door during Jouluaatto, rather than sneaking in through the chimney at night. When he comes in, his first words are usually "Onkos täällä kilttejä lapsia?", "Are there (any) good (well-behaved) children here?". Presents are given and opened immediately. He usually wears red, warm clothes and often carries a wooden walking stick. His workshop is in Korvatunturi, Lapland, Finland, rather than at the North Pole like Santa Claus, or in Greenland. He is married to Joulumuori (tr. Mother Yule).

Typical Finnish yule dishes include ham, various root vegetable casseroles, beetroot salad, gingerbread and star-shaped plum-filled pastries. Other traditions with a non-Christian yule background include joulukuusi ("Yule spruce") and joulusauna ("yule sauna").

Iceland

The peak of Icelandic jól is when presents are exchanged on aðfangadagskvöld, the evening of December 24, then the gifts are given. It is a custom to eat hamborgarhryggur (smoked pork loin) or rock ptarmigan. Before Christmas some people cut patterns into laufabrauð (e. leaf bread) and bake piparkökur (e. ginger biscuits).

On Þorláksmessa (mass of Saint Thorlakur), December 23, there is a tradition (originally from the Westfjords) to serve fermented skata (stingray) with melted tallow and boiled potatoes. Boiling the Christmas hangikjöt (smoked leg or shoulder of lamb) on Þorláksmessa evening is said to dispel the strong smell which otherwise tends to linger around the house for days. The hangikjöt and laufabrauð are usually served at Christmas Day, December 25.

Unlike other countries there are 13 traditional jólasveinar Yule Lads that play the same role as the Santa Claus. The first one comes to town from the mountains December 11 and the last one arrives 13 days later on December 24. Children leave their shoe in the window and the Yule Lads leave something in the shoe when they arrive in town. If the children are naughty they might get a potato but if they are nice they might get something good, like candy, an apple or a toy. The Yule Lads all carry a specific name that describes his actions. For instance, the sixth one is Pot-Scraper and what he does best is to scrape leftovers from pots.

December 26 is generally reserved for family gatherings. It involves a lot of eating with relatives, usually with cousins and aunts and uncles.

Norway

Although Yule proper starts with the chiming of the church-bells in the afternoon of julaften ("Yule Eve" or "Christmas Eve") on December 24, the previous day lillejulaften (little Christmas Eve), when the tree is put up and decorated, is increasingly the actual start date for the 13 day long Yule celebration in Norway.

Julaften remains the main event, with a traditional lunch, dinner and the exchange of gifts. Traditional dishes vary by region, but ribbe (pork ribs), and pinnekjøtt, some places also codfish are eaten. As a continuation of older beliefs, a bowl of porridge is sometimes left outside for nisse that evening.

Throughout December many gather for a julebord, Christmas parties sponsored by companies and institutions for their employees and associates to eat and drink traditional dishes.

The time period between Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve, is called romjul. Occasionally children dress up in costumes and visit neighbours, where they sing Yuletide carols and receive treats like candy, nuts and clementines. This tradition is called julebukk.

In the old days in certain areas, primarily Setesdalen, adults commonly went from house to house drinking, an event called Toftirus, during the 13 days surrounding Christmas eve. Although increasingly rare and localized, this tradition had developed into today's Drammebukk, where adults visit neighbors in the evening.

For some it is a tradition to watch television shows on Yule Eve. The popular shows are "Tre Nøtter Til Askepott" (Three Nuts for Cinderella), a Czech-German fairy-tale, and "Reisen til Julestjernen", a Norwegian film.

Shetland Islands

In the Shetland Islands of Scotland the Yules are considered to last a month beginning on December 18 and ending January 18. The main Yules celebration occurs on December 31. The rest of Scotland eventually adopted "Hogmanay" (the name of the New Years presents) as the name for the festival.[22]

Sweden

Julbock at Gävle, Sweden.

As in many other countries in northern Europe Jultomten brings presents on julafton ("Yule Eve"), December 24, the day generally thought of as the main jul day. Many Swedes[23] watch Kalle Anka och hans vänner (lit. Donald Duck and his friends), a compilation of Disney shorts broadcast at 3pm.

Almost all Swedish families celebrate with a julbord, which traditionally includes julskinka (baked ham), sill (pickled herring), janssons frestelse, and a collection of meatballs, sausages, meats and patés. The julbord is traditionally served with beer, julmust, mumma (a mix of beer, liquor and svagdricka) and snaps. The dishes vary throughout the country. Businesses invite staff to a julbord dinner or lunch in preceding weeks, and people go privately to restaurants offering julbord during December. Swedes also enjoy glögg (mulled wine with raisins and almonds). Gifts are distributed either by Jultomten (usually from a sack) or from under the Christmas tree. In older days a julbock (yule goat, still used in Finland called Joulupukki) was an alternative to Jultomten; now it is used as an ornament, ranging in size from 10 cm to huge constructions like the Gävle goat. The following day some people attend a julotta and even more venture to the movies, as December 25 is a day of big premieres.

Neopaganism

As forms of Neopaganism can be quite different and have very different origins, these representations can vary considerably despite the shared name. Some celebrate in a way as close as possible to how they believe Ancient Germanic pagans observed the tradition, while others observe the holiday with rituals culled from numerous other unrelated sources including Germanic.

Germanic Neopaganism

In Germanic Neopagan sects, Yule is celebrated with gatherings that often involve a meal and gift giving. Further attempts at reconstruction of surviving accounts of historical celebrations are often made, a hallmark being variations of the traditional. Groups such as the Asatru Folk Assembly in the US recognize the celebration as lasting 12 days, beginning on the date of the winter solstice.[24]

Wicca

In most forms of Wicca, this holiday is celebrated at the winter solstice as the rebirth of the Great horned hunter God,[25] who is viewed as the newborn solstice sun. The method of gathering for this sabbat varies by practitioner. Some have private ceremonies at home,[26] while others do so with their covens.[27] Yule festivities for modern Wiccans and neopagans involve the burning of the Yule log on an open fire to honour the lord Cernunnos or the Horned God; the log is decorated with holly and other symbolic paraphernalia.

Also during the many Wiccan Yule rituals, the Oak King defeats the Holly King. This signifies the changes in the season.

Notes

  1. ^ a b c d Orchard (1997:187).
  2. ^ a b Simek (2007:380).
  3. ^ a b Jones, Pennick (1995:76 and 125).
  4. ^ Bosworth & Toller (1898:424); Hoad (1996:550); Orel (2003:205).
  5. ^ For a brief overview of the proposed etymologies, see Orel (2003:205).
  6. ^ Simek (2007:379).
  7. ^ Bede, De Temporum Ratione. Translated by Charles W. Jones.
  8. ^ Faulkes (1995:133).
  9. ^ Jones, Pennick (1995:124).
  10. ^ a b Hollander (2007:106).
  11. ^ a b Hollander (2007:107).
  12. ^ Jones, Pennick (1995:154).
  13. ^ The Story of Grettir The Strong, Chapter XIX, Translated by Eirikr Magnusson and William Morris.
  14. ^ The Story of Grettir The Strong, Chapter XXXII, Translated by Eirikr Magnusson and William Morris.
  15. ^ Orchard (1997:188).
  16. ^ Simek (2007:379-380).
  17. ^ Simek (2007:379-380).
  18. ^ Simek (2007:379-380).
  19. ^ Danish Christmas traditions from VisitDenmark. Retrieved 25 July 2009.
  20. ^ http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=yule
  21. ^ Northumberland Words - A Glossary of Words Used in the County of Northumberland and on the Tyneside - Volume II by Richard Oliver Heslop, Page 807
  22. ^ UK History
  23. ^ 3,610,000 in year 2006, which is about 40% of the population, see sv:Kalle Anka och hans vänner önskar God Jul.
  24. ^ McNallen, Stephen The Twelve Days of Yule - 2005
  25. ^ James Buescher (2007-12-15). "Wiccans, pagans ready to celebrate Yule". Lancaster Online. http://local.lancasteronline.com/4/213802. Retrieved 2007-12-21. 
  26. ^ Andrea Kannapell (1997-12-21). [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html? res=9507E5DA113FF932A15751C1A961958260&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=all "Celebrations; It's Solstice, Hanukkah, Kwannza: Let There Be Light!"]. nytimes.com. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html? res=9507E5DA113FF932A15751C1A961958260&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=all. Retrieved 2007-12-21. 
  27. ^ Ruth la Ferla (2000-12-13). "Like Magic, Witchcraft Charms Teenagers". nytimes.com. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9A04E3DD1E3EF930A25751C0A9669C8B63&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=1. Retrieved 2007-12-21. 

References

  • Barnhart, Robert K. (1995). The Barnhart Concise Dictionary of Etymology. ISBN 0062700847.
  • Bosworth, Joseph; Toller, T. Northcote (1898). An Anglo-Saxon Dictionary. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Faulkes, Anthony (Trans.) (1995). Edda. Everyman. ISBN 0-4608-7616-3.
  • Hoad, T. F. (1996). The Concise Oxford Dictionary of English Etymology. Oxford: Oxford University Press. ISBN: 0-19-283098-8.
  • Hollander, M. Lee (Trans.) (2007). Heimskringla: History of the Kings of Norway. University of Texas Press. ISBN 978-0-292-73061-8
  • Jones, Prudence. Pennick, Nigel (1995). A History of Pagan Europe. Routledge. ISBN 0-415-09136-5.
  • Orchard, Andy (1997). Dictionary of Norse Myth and Legend. Cassell. ISBN 0-304-34520-2.
  • Orel, Vladimir (2003). A Handbook of Germanic Etymology. Leiden: Brill. pg. 205. ISBN: 90-04-12875-1.
  • Simek, Rudolf (2007) translated by Angela Hall. Dictionary of Northern Mythology. D.S. Brewer ISBN 0859915131

Quotes

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Quotes related to the seasons of Yule and the Yuletide.

Sourced

  • So the shortest day came, and the year died,
    And everywhere down the centuries of the snow-white world
    Came people singing, dancing,
    To drive the dark away.
    They lighted candles in the winter trees;
    They hung their homes with evergreen;
    They burned beseeching fires all night long
    To keep the year alive,
    And when the new year's sunshine blazed awake
    They shouted, reveling.
    Through all the frosty ages you can hear them
    Echoing behind us — Listen!!
    All the long echoes sing the same delight,
    This shortest day,
    As promise wakens in the sleeping land:
    They carol, fest, give thanks,
    And dearly love their friends,
    And hope for peace.
    And so do we, here, now,
    This year and every year.
    Welcome Yule!
  • The grate had been removed from the wide overwhelming fireplace, to make way for a fire of wood, in the midst of which was an enormous log glowing and blazing, and sending forth a vast volume of light and heat; this I understood was the Yule-log, which the Squire was particular in having brought in and illumined on a Christmas eve, according to ancient custom.

Anonymous

  • It is Christmas in the mansion,
    Yule-log fires and silken frocks;
    It is Christmas in the cottage,
    Mother's filling little socks.
    It is Christmas on the highway,
    In the thronging, busy mart;
    But the dearest, truest Christmas
    Is the Christmas in the heart.

External links

Wikipedia
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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

YULE, the season of Christmas. This word is chiefly used alone as an archaism or in poetry or poetical language, but is more common in combination, as in "yule-tide," "yulelog," &c. The Old English word appears in various forms, e.g. gala, iula, geol, gehhol, gehhel; cognate forms are Icel, jol; Dan. juul; Swed. jul. It was the name of two months of the year, December and January, the one the "former yule" (se aerra gala), the other the "after yule" (se aeftera gala), as coming before and after the winter solstice (Cotton MS. Tib. B. i.; and Bede, De Temporum Ratione, 13, quoted in Skeat, Etym. Dict., 1898). According to A. Fick (Vergleichendes Wärterbuch der Indogermanischen Sprachen, vol. iii. 2 45, 1874) in proper meaning is noise, clamour, the season being one of rejoicing at the turning of the year among Scandinavian peoples before Christian times.


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Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

See also yule

Contents

English

Etymology

From the Middle English yole, from Old English geōl, either cognate with[1] or from[2][3] Old Norse jól, the name of a pre-Christian holiday held in midwinter, and later applied to the Christian celebration of Christmas. Also see Old English giuli and Old Norse ýlir.

Pronunciation

Proper noun

Singular
Yule

Plural
Yules

Yule (plural Yules)

  1. A wintertime holiday celebrated by the heathen/pagan Scandinavian, Germanic, and Anglo-Saxon peoples.
  2. One of the eight Sabbats celebrated in Wicca, a celebration of the winter solstice.
  3. (archaic) Christmas.
  4. (paganism) The midwinter festival of the modern pagan faith of Heathenry.

Derived terms

See also

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Wikipedia has an article on:

Wikipedia

References

  • Notes:
  1. ^ Online Oxford English Dictionary
  2. ^ According to ODS eng. yule laant fra nordisk, the English Yule was borrowed from Old Norse
  3. ^ Etymology of Yule Yule in Online Etymology Dictionary

Wikispecies

Up to date as of January 23, 2010
(Redirected to Catherine M.Yule article)

From Wikispecies

Catherine M.Yule (Yule)

Entomologist, Australia


Simple English

File:Christmas tree sxc
Pagans bring trees in their home and decorate them, showing their love for nature

Contents

Yuletide

Yuletide is an pagan holiday also known as the Winter solstice. Generally celebrated by Wiccans and Northern European Christians, it has been celebrated for over 10,000 years. "Yuletide" is a British invented holiday, just like all Pagan holidays. "Yuletide" celebrates the birth of the Sun and also celebrates the "Mother" at the height of her "Greatness". Pagans celebrate Yuletide in many ways, most will decorate a "Yuletide" tree, keep it in their homes until most of the leaves fall off then burn the Yule log. Many Wiccans will decorate their alters with Yule colours and items and generally just honour the Goddess.

Yuletide in Christianity

The Christian holiday, Christmas, was created by the Christian Romans based around the polytheistic (many Gods) Sun God festival (Sol Invictis) on the winter solstice, and people in northern Europe combined it with their Yule festival. Yule is celebrated on the 25th of December by most Northern Europeans and the 21st of December, by Wiccans and many non religious groups. For them, Yule is celebrated as the longest night of the year. It is the night when the sun sets earliest and rises latest the next day. The Wiccan ritual includes thanking the Goddess for the past year and asking for a happiness in the year to come.

References

  • Rouche, Michel, "Private life conquers state and society," in A History of Private Life vol I, Paul Veyne, editor, Harvard University Press 1987 ISBN 0-674-39974-9
  • Farrar, Janet and Stewart ([1989] 1998). The Witch's God, "IX Oak King and Holly King". 35-38. Phoenix Publishing, Inc. Blaine, Washington. ISBN 0-919345-47-6

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