However, he did decide to travel to Trøndelagen in Norway and participate in the event. The Pagan celebration of Winter Solstice (also known as Yule) is one of the oldest winter celebrations in the world. Some parties could have been held with the family and their friends, and others by the entire village. There are so many great ways you can decorate your home for the Yule season. 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 pagan Gods and Goddesses that are often associated with the Vikings and Scandinavia today, has a broader origin. I’ve come across many theories of why we celebrate Yule, and these theories often seem to have an exaggerated interpretation of our past. Helpful 0 Not Helpful 1. Christians celebrate the birth of Christ at this time of year, and Yule is connected to the joy at the birth of the Sun God, child of the Goddess. The meat was then cooked in kettles that hang over a fire on the floor in the middle of the hall. Which are 11 days short of the 365 days that it takes the earth to orbit the sun. Yule is celebrated for twelve days, starting on the Winter Solstice. There is this widespread belief that the pagan Yule celebration is about the return of the sun. At the blót, sacrifices are made by either pouring out a drink as an offering, or sacrificing an animal, and eating its meat.”. Yule is not as many people might think just a Scandinavian celebration, but it is, in fact, in its origin Germanic. The first of them was Sheep-Cote Clod. The return of the sun was a turning point after a long and dark winter, and it could have been an important date for the people. 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. By using this site you accept that cookies will be stored on your computer. This full moon will occur on the 5th of January at the earliest and on the 2nd of February at the latest. The amount of sun crosses or sun wheels found at archaeological excavations in Scandinavia also adds to the fact that the sun was significant. It is a celebration of rebirth. The North was at the borders of the known world, at least to him. Yule comes from a name for a 12-day festival, celebrated by Germanic peoples, around the winter solstice in December and January. The old Norse meaning of the word seems to have been lost with time. Since Yule is about several parties and not just one, all three theories could, in theory, be true. Being that Yule is about the return of the sun, clearly light plays a vital role. It is a time to share Love and Celebrate with our … 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. Yule Log Traditions Nisser, Tomten and Yule Elves Winter Solstice Ritual Offering to the Holly King Winter Solstice Feast Winter Solstice usually falls on the 21st of December, but it can be on the 22nd or 23d as well. It is from the village of Lejre that the legendary royal family called Scyldingas (plural) (Old Norse: Skjöldungar) (Danish: Skjoldungerne) originates from. This ‘Winter Solstice’ themed event will give you a lot of fun stuff to do. A hole that would lead me through a network of rabbit tunnels and this article is the result of it. By the 900s (yes, that long ago), yule was already mapped on the Christian celebration of Christmas and its surrounding festivities. The famous Icelandic author Snorri Sturluson mentions in his saga about the Norwegian King Hákon the good, that the King had decided that the Yule celebration should be moved and placed on December 25th when the Christians celebrate Christmas. How does Yule influence Christmas celebrations? 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. But I also understand that some parts of the country (and world) don't have 60* Decembers. 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). It doesn't need to involve a lot of expense as the spirit of the festive season should be … Karls and Jarls may also have been giving a Yule present to their King or Queen. 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). Another element that adds to its difficulty to interpret the old texts, is that Snorri often wrote them in a poetic style. Christians celebrate the birth of Christ at this time of year, and Yule is connected to the joy at the birth of the Sun God, child of the Goddess. There are three main theories about Yule (Danish/Norwegian/Swedish: Jul / Old Norse: Jól). The yule period begins with the Arra Geola moon, which grows full in late November or the first few weeks of December, and the season then continues for two lunar months. Yule is older than Christmas. In practice, this means that the first new moon after the winter solstice marked the beginning of the second Yule month (Old Norse: Jólmanuðr). Many of the old ways are simply hidden, in a network of puzzles, poems, and misconceptions. 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. Surviving the Holidays with Your Non-Pagan Family, Ten Things to Hang on a Pagan Holiday Tree. Offer a Blot to the Gods. What is yule?. 13 Ways to Celebrate Yuletide by Selena Fox Create a Pagan Winter Solstice framework for the entire holidays season - understand that Christmas Eve and Christmas, New Year's Eve and New Year's Day have their origins in Winter Solstice celebrations of a variety of Pagan cultures through the ages. Celebrating on the eve before Christmas is also used for most other holidays in Denmark. You can also bake one if that’s more your speed. Where does it come from and why a Yule Log – literally a wooden log to burn or in cake form! This is an important detail to be aware off, just imagine if everything we knew about the Natives of America was only written down by the settlers, hundreds of years later. A feast for the ravens could be considered an offering to the pagan god Odin. A good Yule is not without a sacrifice, or is it? 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. Here are a few rituals you may want to think about trying—and remember, any of them can be adapted for either a solitary practitioner or a small group, with just a little planning ahead. Webster’s dictionary has Yule defined as an “archaic term for Christmas.” Yule, also known as Yuletide, does have many commonalities to Christmas. However, if you did not keep your oath, it could have serious consequences. Gather family and friends to decorate a yule log. 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. Present-day this heathen/pagan faith is known as Ásatrú. For example, people in Australia might opt to celebrate Yule — and Christmas, for that matter — between the 21st and 23rd of June. This was an important trade town in Northern Europe at the time, and he probably had some goods to trade. The Yule sacrifice (Jólablót) should be held at the full moon, and as many days as it takes until the mead runs dry. Every year it is the same thing, new articles pop up on the web, recycled from last year, after going through a five minute trip into the word blender. was brought into the home to burn for the entire 12 days of Christmas. 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. 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? However, the sun cross is not just found on the runestones. 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. 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. Before I dig further into the meat of this article about Yule, it is important to understand where the sources are from. This was clearly an unpopular action, but it was the King’s attempt to Christianize Norway. Thorbjørn Hornklofi Hrafnsmál 6, 1-4. The Spirit of Yule. 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). It's mostly just a fun way to honor the gods and wights during one of the holiest times on the Heathen calendar. 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. See more. 1. As much as we all love the holiday season of building up to Yule, it can also be quite tiring. Book 4, c.27. The pagan Yule celebration begins at the winter solstice on Monday 21th of December 2020. We do not know of the exact location, but it is probably the great pagan hall that used to be in old Uppsala. Snow Magic. English: Thor said: tell me, Alvísby the fate of all families. 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. For instance, technology and norms change constantly in our modern society, just ask your child if they know what tape salad is? Well, it is, and it isn’t. “They celebrate a festival, at which all come to worship the god and to eat and drink. What could be better than the winter solstice which is the shortest day of the year, and always falls on either the 21st or 22nd of December. It is a celebration of rebirth. One of the oldest source that also mentions the word ”jól” is in the poem Hrafnsmál (Old Norse: Haraldskvæði) by the poet Thorbjørn Hornklofi (Old Norse: Þorbjörn Hornklofi). Nevertheless, Snorri Sturluson is still a great source, and we have come to understand a great deal from his books about this period in time. That can probably be attributed to the fact that Yule is the archetype for the popular holiday. 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. It signifies joy about literal longer and brighter days ahead. Yule . One source that has described the society within Scandinavia in the Viking age, was the Icelandic author named Snorri Sturluson. … Or, if you don’t have a fireplace or a workspace to make one, light candles instead. the longest night of the year. Find out why mistletoe is so special, and which ancient revelers went caroling naked in the streets! Winter Solstice (sometimes referred to as Yule or Midwinter) has been revered by many different people and cultures for thousands of years. The Classic Yule Log You Know And Love! Ask if you can offer a Yuletime prayer after the Christian Christmas Story has been told. Hjol has been inherited by Germanic and Scandinavian languages from a pre-Indo-European language level, and is a direct reference to the return of the Sun represented as a fiery wheel … 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. This is the turning point of the year, when the days gradually become longer and the darkness of winter is overcome. But it was a giant wheel and the Vikings would set the big wreath on fire. The people of the North are the people of ice and fire, living there means to prepare, innovate and adapt, and the sun was definitely part of that. 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. Yuletide is the pre-Christian Germanic Midwinter celebration. They are servants of the gods and most likely tools that were used to count the time. Above all, Yuletide is a Celebration of the Return of the Light, the promise fulfilled of Light birthing out of Darkness. The poem was written around the 10th century, to the King of Norway Harald Fairhair (c. 872-930) (Old Norse: Haraldr inn hárfagri). 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. 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.”. Etymology. Tribes in Northern Germany and Northern Poland did also consist of people who followed the Nordic Gods. It is not totally ridiculous to think that Yule is held at winter solstice to celebrate the return of the sun. 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). 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. Yule is an ancient pagan festival celebrating the rebirth of the Sun God and takes place on the winter solstice. The Winter Solstice is the shortest day and longest night of the year (this year it falls on 21st Dec). 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 oldest sun wheel/sun cross that has been found in Europe dates back to 5000 BCE. 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). Each day after the winter solstice, the days will grow gradually longer as the sun’s path arcs higher and higher in the sky. 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). How to use yuletide in a sentence. 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. One of the best ways to celebrate the winter solstice is to bake up a bit of magick. ”Blót is a pagan ceremonial offering, held in honor of the Ancestors, Gods, and Spirits. In neopagan traditions, Yule (also known as Jól) is when the god, who sacrificed himself at Samhain, has journeyed through the underworld and, in the embrace of the goddess, becomes the child of light. Yule is celebrated for … What is a successful yule celebration without Yule presents? When those men barely can see the sun from that point, they return to the village with the message, that within five days the sun will shine on them again. In Denmark about 50% eat duck and pork, pagans did not eat duck, but they definitely did eat pork at Yule. It might not be quite obvious what the poem is trying to tell us, but it praises Harald Fairhair for being brave. Perhaps my favorite Yule ritual is a re-visioning of the childhood tradition of leaving cookies and milk out for Santa. He came stiff as wood. Yule Celebration Idea #3: Do a Yule Meditation. The lunar calendar needs an exception, something that can be observed in the northern hemisphere, and something that is always the same. 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