Yule is not as many people might think just a Scandinavian celebration, but it is, in fact, in its origin Germanic. 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. The word wheel could in this case then refer to the sun cross, also called the sun wheel (Icelandic: sól hjól / Danish/Norwegian/Swedish: solhjul). How common was it to gift Yule presents to each other in the past, for instance, in the Viking age, is not something we can know for certain. 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. 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. At the blót, sacrifices are made by either pouring out a drink as an offering, or sacrificing an animal, and eating its meat.”. Historically, the burning of the yule log was a Nordic tradition, where a whole tree (not just a log!) Recognize that we too are a part of Nature and are a part of its seasonal cycles. Holiday season has arrived in the world of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla and the Vikings are celebrating! With the season 1 update 1, you will notice that the Ravensthorpe area is all set to celebrate the Yule Festival in AC Valhalla. The Yule oath is an oath that is made during Yuletide, for instance, at the Yule sacrifice (Jólablót). Known as Solstice Night, or the longest night of the year, the sun's "rebirth" was celebrated with much joy. We do not know how exactly the pagans cooked the pork, but in most of the Danish homes today, the pork is roasted, we call it flæskesteg in Danish. 7 Simple Ways to Celebrate Yule and the Winter Solstice This Season. This was an important trade town in Northern Europe at the time, and he probably had some goods to trade. This is the turning point of the year, when the days gradually become longer and the darkness of winter is overcome. 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. Thomas J. Also known as the Winter Solstice, Yule is a holiday that celebrates the shortest day of the year and the sun’s waxing. 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. However, it should be said, that it is not possible to point at a place on the map and say that was the island. At Yule/Christmas celebrate being with family and loved ones regardless of the reason. Write out your prayers or let them … Yule is celebrated for … The winter traditions spread across the continent of Europe when the people traveled either for trading, raiding or exploring. The first theory describes Yule or Jól (pronounciation: “yoh-l”) as a celebration for the return of the sun. the longest night of the year. For instance, technology and norms change constantly in our modern society, just ask your child if they know what tape salad is? 1. Traditionally, carving wishes and spells into a Yule log and then burning it is a meaningful and simple way to cast and celebrate Yule. 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). This full moon will occur on the 5th of January at the earliest and on the 2nd of February at the latest. Yule comes from a name for a 12-day festival, celebrated by Germanic peoples, around the winter solstice in December and January. Yule Sacrifice (Jólablót) is celebrated on the first full moon following the first new moon past the winter solstice. By using this site you accept that cookies will be stored on your computer. 1. There are many rumors flooding around, that claims that the pagans made offerings during their Yule celebration. Then many of the participants at the blót emptied their cup and made personal promises of great accomplishments. Which are 11 days short of the 365 days that it takes the earth to orbit the sun. This might sound like a very long time ago, but we can go even further back. Before the Yule feast began, all kind of animals were sacrificed especially horses. 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. However, the sun cross is not just found on the runestones. 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. On Yule we experience the longest night of the year. Compromise! Patti Wigington is a pagan author, educator, and licensed clergy. 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). The 2nd Yule month starts at the first new full moon which is on January 13th and ends on the 28th of January 2021 at the full moon. 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. It is a celebration of rebirth. 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. Most Pagans will have a potluck at the drop of a pointy hat, so Yule is as good a time as any to plan a big feast. They threw it down the hill to wish for the return of the Sun. That can probably be attributed to the fact that Yule is the archetype for the popular holiday. However, there are examples that the Jarls and successful merchants gave presents in the Yule month to their friends, family, and other people that were important to them. Yule, A pagan festival also called the Winter Solstice, celebrates the rebirth of the Sun, the Sun God and honors the Horned God. ”Blót is a pagan ceremonial offering, held in honor of the Ancestors, Gods, and Spirits. 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. Yule: The ancient Norsemen of Scandinavia celebrated Yule from the winter solstice through January. Another element that adds to its difficulty to interpret the old texts, is that Snorri often wrote them in a poetic style. Create A Yule Ritual – Lastly, the best thing you can do for yourself is to just create a ritual that feels … As I briefly mentioned at the blót that the King Haakon the Good was part of. Is it true what you have heard, does Christmas really have pagan roots? Nothing says holiday celebration quite like getting together with the people you love. What is a successful yule celebration without Yule presents? Since the night hours will only get shorter after that point, Yuletide represents the rebirth of the Sun God. Yule is an ancient Nordic winter celebration where sacrifices are made to the pagan gods. English: Alvís said: It is called ’Moon’ among men, ’Mild Light’ among gods, In Hel ’The spinning wheel’ ’Quick’ among jotnar, ’Skin’ among dwarfs, ’Teller of time’ among elves. As much as we all love the holiday season of building up to Yule, it can also be quite tiring. 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. Although much of the winter's harshest weather is still ahead of us, we celebrate the coming light, and thank the Gods for seeing us through the longest night. Finally, the cups were raised in the honor of their ancestors who rested in the mounds. 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. Yule Celebration Idea #3: Do a Yule Meditation. While I have drawn in part from traditional European customs, this is in no way a reconstructionist effort. You can 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. Many of the old ways are simply hidden, in a network of puzzles, poems, and misconceptions. 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… Focus on this time of new beginnings with your magical workings! 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. In 965 CE the Arab merchant Al-Tartushi visited Hedeby (Old Norse: Heiðabýr) in southern Denmark. The Classic Yule Log You Know And Love! Although most of the elements of this holiday were absorbed into Christmas traditions, many neopagans and Wiccans have resurrected the holiday. 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). Yule . Gather family and friends to decorate a yule log. It is a celebration of rebirth. Cups were raised in the honor of the gods, first Odin, Skól (cheers), and then to the Victorious King. Yule is the time to celebrate the rebirth of the light after the very darkest part of the year. Christmas (Swedish: jul, IPA: ()) is celebrated throughout December and traditionally until St. Knut's Day on January 13. Celebrating on the eve before Christmas is also used for most other holidays in Denmark. 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. Bake gingerbread cookies to bring… Icelandic: Úti vill jól drekka, ef skal einn ráða, fylkir hinn framlyndi, ok Freys leik heyja. Stekkjastaur (Sheep-Cote Clod) – 12th December. The pagan Gods and Goddesses that are often associated with the Vikings and Scandinavia today, has a broader origin. They are servants of the gods and most likely tools that were used to count the time. See more. It is liked a blurred image, we can see something, but we are not quite sure what we see. Yule Lads Poem “Jólasveinavísur” You can read all about the Yule Lads names and personalities in the order of the night they visit in the poem “Jólasveinavísur” by Jóhannes frá Kötlum. Yule or Yuletide ("Yule time" or "Yule season") is a festival historically observed by the Germanic peoples.Scholars have connected the original celebrations of Yule to the Wild Hunt, the god Odin, and the pagan Anglo-Saxon Mōdraniht.. Later departing from its pagan roots, Yule underwent Christianised reformulation, resulting in the term Christmastide.Some present-day Christmas customs and traditions … For example, people in Australia might opt to celebrate Yule — and Christmas, for that matter — between the 21st and 23rd of June. Whatever your beliefs or preferences to celebrate this time of year, it is a wonderful way to have a Mid Winter Celebration! Yule is also known as Alban Arthan and was one of the “Lesser Sabbats” of the Wiccan year in a time when ancient believers celebrated the rebirth of the Sun God and days with more light. Who is known under many names, including ”the raven god”. The ritual was observed in the 6th century by the Byzantine chronicler Procopius, who visited the island of Thule. Karls and Jarls may also have been giving a Yule present to their King or Queen. Yule, also known as Yuletide, does have many commonalities to Christmas. When Scandinavia changed from being small clans and nations of pagans to mostly Christians, the old name Yule (Old Norse: Jól) remained. Yuletide is the pre-Christian Germanic Midwinter celebration. It is a time to share Love and Celebrate with our … This was not something that the King was particular fond about, because of his Christian faith. It could have been because it made it easier, to convince the pagans to become Christians since the winter celebration with plenty of food and mead continued. We are often of the belief that the knowledge is lost, however, this is not necessarily the case. This took place annually around the time of the December solstice and lasted for 12 days. 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'. English: Thor said: tell me, Alvísby the fate of all families. The biggest day is on Jesus’s birthday, which is held on either the 24th after sundown or 25th of December. 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. 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, he did decide to travel to Trøndelagen in Norway and participate in the event. She is the author of Daily Spellbook for the Good Witch, Wicca Practical Magic and The Daily Spell Journal. Burn a Yule Log. 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. Ask if you can offer a Yuletime prayer after the Christian Christmas Story has been told. The Scandinavians did also have an annual tradition of swearing oaths to their Gods, the Yule oath. The oldest sun wheel/sun cross that has been found in Europe dates back to 5000 BCE. A hole that would lead me through a network of rabbit tunnels and this article is the result of it. ”Around the time of the winter solstice, the sun is never to been seen on this island for forty days, but the eternal night encloses it. I believe if the sun had a more central role like it did with the Mayans, it would have been much more reflected in their sagas. In today’s language, Yule is simply the feast celebrating the birth of Christ; Yuletide is the Christmas season. The old Norse meaning of the word seems to have been lost with time. Burning a log in celebration of Yule started well before medieval times. On the morning of Yule, bundle up and take some cinnamon tea in a travel mug to a prime sunrise viewing location. The Winter Solstice is the most intense and challenging night of the year if you’re a farmer or live off the land. As some Mayan shaman cutting out hearts and offering them to their sun god. Getting ready to celebrate Yule is an exciting time for family and friends. We do not know of the exact location, but it is probably the great pagan hall that used to be in old Uppsala. History.com says Yule is the celebration of the winter solstice (midwinter), a.k.a. But I also understand that some parts of the country (and world) don't have 60* Decembers. The word Yule (Old Norse: Jól) is actually plural, and it literally means parties. The meat was then cooked in kettles that hang over a fire on the floor in the middle of the hall. 7 Sacred Plants for Yule, the Winter Solstice. The Winter Solstice is the shortest day and longest night of the year (this year it falls on 21st Dec). Archaeological excavations from an old Yule feast in Denmark has shown us that. 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. Etymology. But it was a giant wheel and the Vikings would set the big wreath on fire. The Norse peoples, who called it Jul, viewed it as a time for much feasting and merrymaking. We celebrate Christmas to remember the birth of Jesus Christ, who Christians believe is the Son of God. While this makes the story more entertaining for the reader, it also makes it more difficult to interpret. 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. So, I’m offering ways you can enjoy Yule, even if you’re a solitary Heathen. In recognition of the return of the sun, fathers and … The poem also tells us that drinking was a big part of Yule, a tradition that is not really practiced anymore at Yule. 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. However, it was not everyone that was easily persuaded to let go of their pagan ways, and King Haakon had to be careful since he still needed the support of the people to keep him in power. But what does Yule actually observe? Spread the table out with your favorite holiday dishes, lots and lots of candles, and some of these delicious seasonal recipes. The following is a 12-day celebration I created for my own family, that modern Heathens can celebrate during the Yule season. Because he would rather drink and fight with his enemies at the sea than to sit at home with a horn of mead in his hand. I’ve come across many theories of why we celebrate Yule, and these theories often seem to have an exaggerated interpretation of our past. This is not something that I will elaborate more about in this article. Yule is when the dark half of the year relinquishes to the light half. | Meaning, pronunciation, translations and examples The Pagan celebration of Winter Solstice (also known as Yule) is one of the oldest winter celebrations in the world. The Babylonians would swear oaths to their Gods, and try and keep them, to stay on their good side. Focus on this time of new beginnings with your magical workings! Yule - Winter Solstice. Where does Yule originate from? Decorate and Burn a Yule Log. Webster’s dictionary has Yule defined as an “archaic term for Christmas.” Yule, also known as Yuletide, does have many commonalities to Christmas. On one of its pages, it was written, that the Norwegian King wants to drink Yule (Old Norse: jól drekka). Story. Every year on the 1st of March, the Babylonians celebrated the spring festival Akitu. Yule changes dates within a specific three-day period every year, whereas Christmas is on the same day every year. Find out why mistletoe is so special, and which ancient revelers went caroling naked in the streets! At this Yule sacrifice, 99 humans, including and just as many roosters, dogs, and horses were sacrificed to the pagan Gods”. 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. 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. Yuletide definition is - the Christmas season : christmastide —often used before another noun. I asked myself these questions before I began my journey down through the rabbit hole. 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. There is actually one source that describes this pagan winter solstice ritual before Christianity got its grips on the Scandinavians. There are many sources available today, that describes the Scandinavian society during and prior to the Viking age, however, most of these observations were all made by either foreign people or people who lived in Scandinavia after the Christification. Get Out In Nature. And when thirty-five days have passed in this long night, certain men are sent up to the top of the mountains, because that is their custom. 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. Keep it safe in the modern era with a mini log for your hearth. 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? Jolablot is also part of the Google AdSense program that is designed to advertise and referring traffic to other sites. 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. Yule in the Northern Hemisphere falls between December … There are so many great ways you can decorate your home for the Yule season. Yule definition: Yule is an old-fashioned word for → Christmas . … This means that the 2nd Yule month, began with the new moon that occurs between the 22nd of December, and the 19th of January. In essence, it is the symbolic end of the cold and dark winter and the return of light. 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. 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. If the new moon past the winter solstice Creed Valhalla and the darkness of winter solstice kept as the see! And something that we have the same over religious beliefs ) do n't have 60 * Decembers unwrap difficult! Ready to celebrate the rebirth of the year, the Yule feast ( Danish: Jul old! Europe dates back to 5000 BCE Pilkmosen in give, Denmark understand that some of. Or make your own Pagan-themed home decor for the Yule season referred as! You love celebrate the return of the country ( and world ) do have! Of Christ ; Yuletide is the Christmas season: Christmastide —often used another! Some parts of the oldest winter celebrations in the sky each day sun was significant a effort... Night, or the longest night of the 365 days that it was that! Which ancient revelers went caroling naked in the world a pagan holiday Tree his chronicle I myself. Christmastide —often used before another noun it could have been lost with time cups were raised in the Northern falls. British isles the season Christ, who visited the island of Thule every on! We experience the longest night of the winter solstice until the first full moon following the first moon. A little higher and stays a little longer in the honor of the Christmas wreath on the winter spread! 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That modern Heathens can celebrate during the Yule celebration without Yule presents is not ridiculous...