Yesterday we welcomed the winter solstice. It’s the shortest day of the year and from here on the days will start to get longer. Every 6 months there is a solstice (the next one being around the 21st of June).
The sun is reborn and it’s a symbol for life; meaning that spring is only a few months away. The earth will reawaken and start to grow and bloom again.
Our ancient ancestors spent a lot of time out doors. They hunted, farmed, celebrated all outdoors. The winter solstice was a turning point to celebrate the good news that another year was on it’s way. During the winter minimal crops grew, there were less animals to hunt and it would have been hard to see the seasons through. But summer and autumn are full of crops, plants, animals. Plenty to keep people alive.
Yule is celebrated by lighting a large bonfire where the people would gather and dedicated it to the Sun God. They were furnish their homes with evergreens to show that even though the land is in hibernation, there is still life, and they would decorate it and their homes with shiny objects to encourage the Sun God to shine.
Holly and mistletoe was used as fertility symbols to again show that there is still life and things still can grow in the darkest times. The holly represented blood of the Goddesses while the mistletoe symbolised the semen of the Gods.
Yule goes back to before we recorded time on paper, but you can find note about the Romans celebrating Saturnalia. This ran from approximately the 17th to 23rd of December. Ordinary rules were broken. Men dressed and women, servants dressed as masters, they had big feasts and were given lavish gifts.
It’s believed that Druids started the tradition of the Yule Log. They would take a log and cut it into 12. Each day another piece was burnt and a wish made for the coming year.
Many traditions are still followed by modern day pagans and non-pagans, although it is now seen as a Christian festival with most celebrating on the 25th of each year.
Love and light to you all. I hope the Gods see you get all you are due.