what does yule celebrate

The earth's axis tilts away from the sun in the Northern Hemisphere, and the sun reaches its greatest distance from the equatorial plane. Holiday season has arrived in the world of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla and the Vikings are celebrating! Some of the evidence for this is mentioned in the saga of Haakon the Good (c. 920-961), (Old Norse: Hákon góði), by the Icelandic author Snorri Sturluson. The Norse used a lunar calendar to count time, but there is a very big problem with using the moon to calculate time, because it only takes 354 days to complete 12 lunar cycles. In pre-Christian Scandinavia, the Feast of Juul, or Yule, lasted for 12 days celebrating the rebirth of the sun and giving rise to the custom of burning a Yule log. Yule comes from a name for a 12-day festival, celebrated by Germanic peoples, around the winter solstice in December and January. Patti Wigington is a pagan author, educator, and licensed clergy. Greet the Sun on the Solstice If you’re a morning person, you might want to get up before the dawn and greet the sun. Find out why mistletoe is so special, and which ancient revelers went caroling naked in the streets! For instance, technology and norms change constantly in our modern society, just ask your child if they know what tape salad is? By the 900s (yes, that long ago), yule was already mapped on the Christian celebration of Christmas and its surrounding festivities. The Yule sacrifice (Jólablót) should be held at the full moon, and as many days as it takes until the mead runs dry. Is it true what you have heard, does Christmas really have pagan roots? Yule is celebrated for twelve days, starting on the Winter Solstice. The Yule tree decorations also represented the souls of the departed who we remember at the end of the year. It's mostly just a fun way to honor the gods and wights during one of the holiest times on the Heathen calendar. Icelandic: Úti vill jól drekka, ef skal einn ráða, fylkir hinn framlyndi, ok Freys leik heyja. The Yule season is full of magic, much of it focusing on rebirth and renewal, as the sun makes its way back to the earth. Many Pagans of different faiths choose to celebrate Yule proper on this day regardless of the actual solar event. ... Wendi: My husband is a nurse, so he is usually working on the actual holidays that most Americans celebrate; and since our “Holy Days” can fall on different … On Yule we experience the longest night of the year. Surviving the Holidays with Your Non-Pagan Family, Ten Things to Hang on a Pagan Holiday Tree. With the season 1 update 1, you will notice that the Ravensthorpe area is all set to celebrate the Yule Festival in AC Valhalla. Another line in the song says, “See the blazing yule before us.” We sing those lyrics, but often don’t know what they mean, since we never hear… This family was among others known for their enormous amount of wealth. The second theory talks about Yule as a midwinter party for the dead. These numbers do seem a bit exaggerated to be honest, and there are no other sources about this event, that can either confirm or deny it. As I briefly mentioned at the blót that the King Haakon the Good was part of. Depending on your particular tradition, there are many different ways you can celebrate the Solstice season. Yule is a festival of fire in the midst of winter (there are eight fire festivals in total in the Wheel of the Year ), but this one seems particularly special, lighting a fire – or giant log – usually an oak log to burn through the night as a symbol of hope and warmth. As some Mayan shaman cutting out hearts and offering them to their sun god. The North was at the borders of the known world, at least to him. In ancient Rome, the winter solstice was celebrated at the Feast of Saturnalia, to honor Saturn, the god of agricultural bounty. Bake gingerbread cookies to bring… One of the best ways to celebrate the winter solstice is to bake up a bit of magick. Learn about gifts, decorating, money-saving, and why it's perfectly okay for Pagans to have a big green tree full of lights! Write out your prayers or let them … Book 4, c.27. ”Blót is a pagan ceremonial offering, held in honor of the Ancestors, Gods, and Spirits. Winter Solstice (sometimes referred to as Yule or Midwinter) has been revered by many different people and cultures for thousands of years. The answer is complicated, and I will try and unwrap this difficult question in this article as well. Yule . Which are 11 days short of the 365 days that it takes the earth to orbit the sun. The following is a 12-day celebration I created for my own family, that modern Heathens can celebrate during the Yule season. The ritual was observed in the 6th century by the Byzantine chronicler Procopius, who visited the island of Thule. “They celebrate a festival, at which all come to worship the god and to eat and drink. I deem that, a dwarf will know what the moon is called as the Men see, in all the worlds so wide? Adapt store-bought Christmas decorations, or make your own Pagan-themed home decor for the season. In today’s language, Yule is simply the feast celebrating the birth of Christ; Yuletide is the Christmas season. While Al-Tartushi was in Hedeby he witnessed one of these blóts if it was during Yule is uncertain, but this is what he wrote. Ásatrú is an old Norse word, consisting of Ása, which is referring to the Norse gods, and trú, which means faith. Yule is an ancient Nordic winter celebration where sacrifices are made to the pagan gods. Focus on this time of new beginnings with your magical workings! In modern times, this holiday has been reformulated by Christians and renamed Christmastide. 7 Simple Ways to Celebrate Yule and the Winter Solstice This Season. The Slavic peoples to the east also have their own version of a winter festival called Koliada. You don’t have to be a Wiccan or Witch to celebrate Yule; it’s a holiday that reflects the changing seasons, so anyone can celebrate Yule. was brought into the home to burn for the entire 12 days of Christmas. Since most people were farmers, it was important to know the path of the sun, especially when you live in a harsh environment. On that day, an amazing thing happens in the sky above us. The old Norse meaning of the word seems to have been lost with time. This was not something that the King was particular fond about, because of his Christian faith. Above all, Yuletide is a Celebration of the Return of the Light, the promise fulfilled of Light birthing out of Darkness. Some of the old Yule traditions from how the pagans celebrated Yule can still be found on the Yule tables in Scandinavia which is held on Christmas Eve (December 24th). Ravens are important animals in the Norse religion, for instance, Huginn and Muninn are the two ravens that belong to the god Odin. Yule is celebrated for … Many of the old ways are simply hidden, in a network of puzzles, poems, and misconceptions. The consumption of Alcohol and singing is still a big part of the Yule feast (Danish: Juleaften). The two tribes Angles and Saxons also brought these traditions with them when they migrated to the British isles. Nothing says Yule like a Yule log. | Meaning, pronunciation, translations and examples Christmas (Swedish: jul, IPA: ()) is celebrated throughout December and traditionally until St. Knut's Day on January 13. European Origins of Yule In the Northern hemisphere, the winter solstice has been celebrated for millennia. The date of the big Yule feast celebration always seem to vary in the old texts, and the question is, why is this day bouncing back and forth, and why is it not just celebrated on a certain day? The name of the moon in Old Norse Ártali does also seem to confirm this, a name that literally means ”He who counts the year” according to the elves in Norse Mythology. Make a Yule Log or Light Candles. In that way, winter solstice would always be in the first Yule month, and the Yule sacrifice (jólablót) would always be celebrated on the first full moon following the new moon past winter solstice. History.com says Yule is the celebration of the winter solstice (midwinter), a.k.a. Gather family and friends to decorate a yule log. Ten ways to Celebrate Yule. The meat was then cooked in kettles that hang over a fire on the floor in the middle of the hall. She is the author of Daily Spellbook for the Good Witch, Wicca Practical Magic and The Daily Spell Journal. The name Yule is derived from the Old Norse HJOL, meaning 'wheel,' to identify the moment when the wheel of the year is at its lowest point, ready to rise again. This would have been done to prevent the second Yule month in the following year to start before the winter solstice. The blood from the dead animals was collected in bowls and then sprinkled (most likely by a Völva, someone who practiced shamanism or witchcraft) on the altars, walls, and the participants by using sacrificial twigs. This full moon will occur on the 5th of January at the earliest and on the 2nd of February at the latest. By Got Questions The Christmas classic “Deck the Halls” contains the line “Troll the ancient yuletide carol” (to troll is to sing in a joyful or celebratory manner). The people would then celebrate a party about 20 days after the winter solstice, and this would be the biggest party held by the natives at Thule.”. What is a successful yule celebration without Yule presents? The winter traditions spread across the continent of Europe when the people traveled either for trading, raiding or exploring. This was an important trade town in Northern Europe at the time, and he probably had some goods to trade. But I also understand that some parts of the country (and world) don't have 60* Decembers. 1. That can probably be attributed to the fact that Yule is the archetype for the popular holiday. One party could have been a fertility celebration in honor of the god Freyr, and another in the honor Odin. Jul … Burning a log in celebration of Yule started well before medieval times. The name Yule is derived from the Old Norse HJOL, meaning 'wheel,' to identify the moment when the wheel of the year is at its lowest point, ready to rise again. Spread the table out with your favorite holiday dishes, lots and lots of candles, and some of these delicious seasonal recipes. There is a difference between Yule and Christmas. The German bishop Thietmar of Merseburg (c. 975 – 1080), wrote in the 11th century that the biggest Yule feast was held in January in the village of Lejre in Denmark, and not on the winter solstice, however, no exact date was mentioned. The Scandinavians did also have an annual tradition of swearing oaths to their Gods, the Yule oath. It might not be quite obvious what the poem is trying to tell us, but it praises Harald Fairhair for being brave. In essence, it is the symbolic end of the cold and dark winter and the return of light. The third theory describes Yule as a fertility feast, where people would sacrifice animals to the Gods, in the hopes of getting a good harvest in the coming year. Starting the next morning at sunrise, the sun climbs just a little higher and stays a little longer in the sky each day. The term Yule, although it has changed in meaning through the centuries, is a remnant of a secular holiday that has been overshadowed by the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. Then many of the participants at the blót emptied their cup and made personal promises of great accomplishments. Old Norse: Þórr kvað: “Segðu mér þat, Avlíss,- öll of rök firavörumk, dvergr, at vitir -:hversu máni heitir, sá er menn séa, heimi hverjum í?”, Old Norse: Alvíss kvað: “Máni heitir með mönnum, en mylinn með goðum, kalla hverfanda hvél helju í, skyndi jötnar, en skin dvergar, kalla alfar ártala.”. Yule: The ancient Norsemen of Scandinavia celebrated Yule from the winter solstice through January. Might not be something that we have the same understanding of today, and we could misunderstand parts of the text. Yule is one of our biggest celebrations as Heathens, but if you’re a solitary Heathen, like I am, you may be wondering how in the Hel you can celebrate it. Webster’s dictionary has Yule defined as an “archaic term for Christmas.” Yule, also known as Yuletide, does have many commonalities to Christmas. Yule, also known as Yuletide, does have many commonalities to Christmas. He came stiff as wood. Before the Yule feast began, all kind of animals were sacrificed especially horses. Yuletide is the pre-Christian Germanic Midwinter celebration. The sun cross can often be seen carved onto many of the runestones throughout Scandinavia. There is actually one source that describes this pagan winter solstice ritual before Christianity got its grips on the Scandinavians. This means that the new moon this year will occur 11 days earlier than it did last year, and every year it will move the new moon another 11 days backward, than it was the previous year, and it will keep doing that unless there is some sort of a system that prevents this, a lunar calendar simply won’t stay still. In an old poem from the Viking age, it is written: ”I think that the King Harald Fairhair was preparing Yule for Huggins hird” (hird means family and it comes from the Proto-Germanic word: hīwarēdaz). … The word is therefore not referring to one single party or one event, but to several Yule celebrations that most likely took place between the winter solstice and the Yule Sacrifice (Old Norse: Jólablót). A pre-Christian celebration that can involve rituals, feasts, decorating with evergreen, gift giving, bonfires, a Yule log and may last for weeks. Celebrating on the eve before Christmas is also used for most other holidays in Denmark. Nothing says holiday celebration quite like getting together with the people you love. However, drinking is still a big part of the Scandinavian culture, especially in Denmark that has a high consumption of alcohol, and where the sound of ”drink drink drink” often can be heard as echoes throughout the night. It signifies joy about literal longer and brighter days ahead. the longest night of the year. Yule is a traditional holiday holding roots in various northern European traditions, particularly that of the pre-Christian Germanic peoples. Enjoy the holiday lights. How to use yuletide in a sentence. According to the researcher Andreas Nordberg (2006, Jul, disting och förkyrklig tideräkning), to make up for the 11 days that were lost with the lunar calendar, the Nordic people may have used a leap year every third year, by inserting a 13th month around the time of the summer solstice. The Magical Colors of Yule. The annual tradition of making New Years Resolutions dates back more than 4,000 years to the Babylon civilization. 10 Ways To Celebrate Yule. So, I’m offering ways you can enjoy Yule, even if you’re a solitary Heathen. While many aspects of the story of Jesus’ birth are celebrated at the Yule season, remnants of the original feasts and celebrations also show up in many Christmas carols and traditions. Some believe that animals were sacrificed, others are convinced that it was humans. It is a celebration of rebirth. Of course, we will never know every single little detail since most of it was never written down, but we can look at the sources that we have available and try and get as close to understanding the original meaning of the Yule celebration, and when Yule was celebrated. We celebrate Christmas to remember the birth of Jesus Christ, who Christians believe is the Son of God. It is from the village of Lejre that the legendary royal family called Scyldingas (plural) (Old Norse: Skjöldungar) (Danish: Skjoldungerne) originates from. The Jarl Sigurd, that I mentioned earlier, was remembered by everyone at the Yule feast for his generosity because he gave everyone at the feast a Yule present. Yule is the modern version of the Old English words ġēol or ġēohol and ġēola or ġēoli, with the former indicating the 12-day festival of "Yule" (later: "Christmastide") and the latter indicating the month of "Yule", whereby ǣrra ġēola referred to the period before the Yule festival (December) and æftera ġēola referred to the period after Yule (January). Stekkjastaur (Sheep-Cote Clod) – 12th December. One source that has described the society within Scandinavia in the Viking age, was the Icelandic author named Snorri Sturluson. A fixed date for joining the lunar year and the solar year into a lunisolar calendar. He was an author that has become very famous for writing down the stories and traditions from the people of Scandinavia, however, many of these stories was written down almost 200 years after the Viking age ended. Thomas J. 10 Ways to Celebrate Yule 1. Yule . Jolablot is also part of the Google AdSense program that is designed to advertise and referring traffic to other sites. The people needed to know when to sow and reap, it is not like a continent such as Africa, where you can pick berries from the trees all year round, and hang out on the beach. We do not know of the exact location, but it is probably the great pagan hall that used to be in old Uppsala. Yule, otherwise known as the Winter Solstice, is a pagan holiday that marks the longest night of the year. If the annual Yule festival would have changed its original name to Christmas, it would probably have been called Kristmesse in Danish. One article after another state the fact, in a never-ending loop, that Yule is on winter solstice and that this day is about celebrating the return on the sun. We can’t just push the sun theory completely away, the sun was still very important to the people of the North. Also known as the Winter Solstice, Yule is a holiday that celebrates the shortest day of the year and the sun’s waxing. For people of nearly any religious background, the time of the winter solstice is a time when we gather with family and loved ones. Yule, or Jul as we still call it in Scandinavia, is a word that has been passed down from generation to generation for thousands of years. An oath to the Gods was not something that was taken lightly, and you could end up paying the ultimate price if you broke it. Since the night hours will only get shorter after that point, Yuletide represents the rebirth of the Sun God. A Yule wreath also appeared in the Yule celebration. Perhaps my favorite Yule ritual is a re-visioning of the childhood tradition of leaving cookies and milk out for Santa. The Yule season is full of magic, much of it focusing on rebirth and renewal, as the sun makes its way back to the earth. The farmers told the King to make sacrifices (Old Norse: blóta) to the Gods, and if he refused, it would cost him dearly. It is liked a blurred image, we can see something, but we are not quite sure what we see. A good Yule is not without a sacrifice, or is it? Yuletide is the pre-Christian Germanic Midwinter celebration. Known as Solstice Night, or the longest night of the year, the sun's "rebirth" was celebrated with much joy. The word Yule (Old Norse: Jól) is actually plural, and it literally means parties. In recognition of the return of the sun, fathers and … Yule is when the dark half of the year relinquishes to the light half. The sun (Old Norse: Sól) is female, and the moon (Old Norse: Máni) is male. As you probably can see, this line is written in a poetic style, but its context matters if we want to understand its meaning. This celebration is just as ancient as Yule, and it is possible that they have a connection with each other in one way or another. However, he did allow Christian drinking feasts at Christian holidays. I'm Pagan - Can I Still Have a Holiday Tree? Before we can understand what Yule is about, we need to look at the meaning of the word. Offer a Blot to the Gods. This one of a kind Sun Chariot was found in 1902 at Trundholm Mose, Odsherre, in Denmark, and it has been dated to 1350 BCE (more than 2000 years, before the Viking age began). While I have drawn in part from traditional European customs, this is in no way a reconstructionist effort. The Norwegian King Olav Tryggvason was also not that pleased with the pagan blóts, and he actually forbid the practice of blót and their drinking feasts. King Haakon the Good who was a Christian probably wanted to use his influence to replace the pagan Yule celebration with Christmas, and moving the date could have been the first step. Let’s unwrap another Yule myth, and see what the sources tell us. However, the King seems to have gotten off the hook, when the Jarl Sigurd intervened, and the King got away with eating some of the horse liver. Yule Celebration Idea #3: Do a Yule Meditation. However, he was not a pagan, but a Christian and his books have therefore been written down from a Christian perspective, and this is just something to keep in mind when reading them. I asked myself these questions before I began my journey down through the rabbit hole. Yule often consists of several parties, from winter solstice at the end of December until the first full moon in January, and until all of the food and drinks have been consumed, which can last up to several days after Jólablót. It began as part of the winter solstice festivities. Yule is not as many people might think just a Scandinavian celebration, but it is, in fact, in its origin Germanic. This ‘Winter Solstice’ themed event will give you a lot of fun stuff to do. Of course, the Winter Solstice doesn’t fall on the same dates in the Southern Hemisphere as it does in the Northern part of the globe. Whatever your beliefs or preferences to celebrate this time of year, it is a wonderful way to have a Mid Winter Celebration! The Spirit of Yule. Since the word Yule (Old Norse: Jól) is plural, it is possible that multiple ritual feasts were held during the Yule month. While I have drawn in part from traditional European customs, this is in no way a reconstructionist effort. They needed to prepare for the long winters. The first theory describes Yule or Jól (pronounciation: “yoh-l”) as a celebration for the return of the sun. Yule changes dates within a specific three-day period every year, whereas Christmas is on the same day every year. Archaeological excavations from an old Yule feast in Denmark has shown us that. Decorate and Burn a Yule Log. The poem also tells us that drinking was a big part of Yule, a tradition that is not really practiced anymore at Yule. Thorbjørn Hornklofi Hrafnsmál 6, 1-4. Since Yule is about several parties and not just one, all three theories could, in theory, be true. Tribes in Northern Germany and Northern Poland did also consist of people who followed the Nordic Gods. I’ve come across many theories of why we celebrate Yule, and these theories often seem to have an exaggerated interpretation of our past. History.com says Yule is the celebration of the winter solstice (midwinter), a.k.a. At the blót, sacrifices are made by either pouring out a drink as an offering, or sacrificing an animal, and eating its meat.”. When the days grew colder and the nights grew longer, people of ancient times would light candles and gather round fires to lure back the sun. But what does Yule actually observe? A hole that would lead me through a network of rabbit tunnels and this article is the result of it. There is no exact date for when Yule was held for the first time, but archaeological evidence seems to indicate that the worship of the sun goes back at least 7,000 years. In addition, if the Icelandic sagas are to be believed, this was a time of sacrifice as well. Traditionally, carving wishes and spells into a Yule log and then burning it is a meaningful and simple way to cast and celebrate Yule. The Pagan holiday called Yule takes place on the day of the winter solstice, around December 21 in the northern hemisphere (below the equator, the winter solstice falls around June 21). You can also bake one if that’s more your speed. As some people suffer in the months of darkness and are affected by the lack of sunshine, what better way to lift spirits than to have a lovely celebration to look forward to. However, Lejre is a village that has been mentioned many times in the past, for instance, in the famous saga of Beowulf. Offer a blot to the gods this solstice. The word Thule is not really a place, it is more of a term. Settle in, breathe deeply, relax, and feel the unique magic of the Winter Solstice, when the light, bright, expansive half of the year is reborn. However, instead of raising our cups in honor of Odin or Freyr, it is mostly raised to wish each other a the table a merry Christmas (Danish: God Jul). If this was indeed the method that the pagans used is uncertain, but it could explain why the time of the celebration would vary so much in the sources. Yule originates from the 12-day festival, celebrated by Germanic peoples, around the winter solstice in December and January. In 1075, the German medieval chronicler Adam of Bremen wrote about a Yule ritual that took place in the Viking age, in the village called Uppsala in Sweden. The name 'Christmas' comes from the Mass of Christ (or Jesus) but the Vikings Yule was a festival to honor Norse Gods, especially Odin who was also known as Júlfadr, the Yule father. Christmas Eve, Juleaften, the main event of Jul, is celebrated on the evening of December 24, the evening before the two Christmas holidays, December 25 and 26th. the longest night of the year. This was clearly an unpopular action, but it was the King’s attempt to Christianize Norway. This site is part of the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed as a method for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. At this point of the year, the sun is at its lowest point in the horizon at noon, and the period of daylight is at its shortest. The origin of the word Yule, has several suggested origins from the Old English word, geõla, the Old Norse word jõl, a pagan festival celebrated at the winter solstice, or the Anglo-Saxon word for the festival of the Winter Solstice, 'Iul' meaning 'wheel'. For family and friends to decorate a Yule Meditation completely away, the sun theory completely away, celebration! 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Through a network of rabbit tunnels and this article as well he mentioned in his chronicle short of oldest..., starting on the eve before Christmas is a pagan author, educator, and kept him... Nordic tradition, where a whole Tree ( not just a log in of. Be in old Uppsala calendar needs an exception, something that can probably be attributed to fact! Day is on Jesus ’ s Creed Valhalla and the solar year into a lunisolar.! Interpret the old Norse word Jól, however, this is something that I will try and keep,! Spell Journal Denmark has shown us that know of the year theory completely away, the Babylonians swear...

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