History of Yule

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Spirit Space

A brief history of the ancient pagan practice of the celebration of Winter.

Yuletide or Yule occurs from December 21st or 22nd (Winter Solstice) and lasts until January 1st (New Year).

This time of acknowledgement is of Norse and Old English origin and was something  which took place in the regions of the Northern Hemisphere. It was a period of the season where hunting was done after the Harvest was completed.Taking place in what fell upon what we now call December, Yule would later become assimilated with the Christian 'Christmas.'

As Christianity made its way from its starting place in the Middle East, men who began to embrace the new religion, to then become its 'priests,' would use pagan ritual to lure people into the church. But well before that intrusive occurance, the Pagans of Europe would spend the roughly two week period of Yule in many forms of celebration.

As the nights grew longer and the coldest weather of the season would begin, the people would seek to quell their dread of a harsh Winter by lighting candels and bonfires, this to symbolize the sun and to assure its warming return in Spring.

Fear was held a bay not by rationing every bite of food to keep hunger away from the ancient Pagan home. On the contrary, they would go to their stores, that of the Fall harvest and the hunt, to then induldge in feasting and festivites.

Along with food and drink there was dancing and song with special music composed for the season. 

Then there was the custom of decoration for the home, all that was done having special and spiritual meaning.

The Meaning of the Evergreen.

HOLLY: The festive plant represents the masculine element; it was used to decorate doors and windows and was placed to ward off misfortune. The leaves of the Holly also represented hope, the red berries potency and strength.

MISTLETOE: Representing the feminine element it was used by Druid priests in Winter Solstice ceremonies. The leaves were of the fertiltiy of the Mother Goddess. Mistletoe was worn as an amulet or hung above a bed to inspire creation through procreation.

THE YULE TREE: Perhaps the most relevant and signifigant Pagan symbol of Yuletide is the Evergreen Yule tree. Originally it was called the 'Tree of Life' of 'World Tree.' In ancient times it was decorated with gifts given to the Gods and Goddesses so wishes might be granted by them.

In modern times the Evergreen remains connected to Christmas through the early Christian church in Europe and its attempts to bring Pagans into Catholism.

In Pagan spirituality the Yule Tree, with its unchanging 'ever green' boughs, represents life and creative continuance. The tradition of bringing the tree into our homes goes on because of its truth filled meaning and for its positive connection to our ancient ancestors, something which still resonates to this day.

Source material: Wikipedia


Submitted: December 17, 2020

© Copyright 2021 LE. Berry. All rights reserved.

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