On the shortest day and longest night of the year… winter solstice… starting December 20 and ending December 24 –
In the wheel of the years cycle, Yule is a celebration of the abundance of light, we are celebrating even though the darkness has taken over our green earth; we are now aware that from this day forward the days will become Lighter. It’s a time in renewal in all aspects and makes us aware that the brighter, longer days are near. At this time, fires were traditionally burnt by the Celts in order to frighten off the wintery cold and to welcome the sun. ☀️
If you are not aware Christmas and decorations is traditionally the Pagan holiday of Yule. The decoration of Pine trees, the burning of the Yule long, the delivery of gifts, and the wreath on your door.
It was traditional to make wreaths from evergreen – the Wheel of Life as evergreen. These were hung on doors or laid horizontally and decorated with candles – later becoming the Christian Advent Wreath.
This is the festival of light out of darkness and the tradition of lighting candles is ever popular. Red, green and the gold of the Returning Sun are the colours of Yule. Deck your home and altar with evergreens and candles.
This is THE Birthday of the Sun/Son! From ancient times the giving and exchanging of gifts has been a vibrant tradition of this festival.
Tree of regeneration and rebirth as no other – it sends up new trees from its roots and grows to a very great age. It is deeply connected with the spirit realms and the ancestors. Often used as the central ‘world tree’ in ritual spaces and was often planted in graveyards. Very poisonous.
Its branches bring healing and joy to the home, burning it will purify.
The Kissing Bough (Mistletoe)
At Yuletide it has often been customary to make a decoration using two hoops, one thrust through the other, and bound with evergreens, holly and ivy, and rosy cheeked apples specially reserved for the occasion. Inside, dolls are hung, male and female, with other brightly coloured baubles. At the bottom of the decoration a bunch of mistletoe is carefully tied, and the whole tableau is suspended in the middle of the room, the centre of attention. Every berry on the mistletoe bears the promise of a kiss, and for every kiss given or taken a berry is removed. When all the berries are gone, the kissing has to stop! (Hedingham Fair)
According to the Anglo-Saxons, kissing under the mistletoe was connected to the legend of Freya, goddess of love, beauty and fertility. According to legend, a man had to kiss any young girl who, without realizing it, found herself accidentally under a sprig of mistletoe hanging from the ceiling.
As a yoga teacher and someone who holds the ancient traditions close to heart ❤️ I have all kinds of interesting and historical notes I have collected over the years that I would love to share with you.
Just shoot me a message if you have an curiosities! I’d love to make time to sit and talk about these old traditions!
Happy Yule everyone! May your Christmas be merry and bright!