There is energy flying around everywhere as you rush about to visit family and friends. Before we can understand what Yule is about, we need to look at the meaning of the word. This ‘Winter Solstice’ themed event will give you a lot of fun stuff to do. There are three main theories about Yule (Danish/Norwegian/Swedish: Jul / Old Norse: Jól). However, because of nostalgia or tradition, the name Yule (Danish: Jul) will probably remain indefinitely. Adapt store-bought Christmas decorations, or make your own Pagan-themed home decor for the season. Ravens are important animals in the Norse religion, for instance, Huginn and Muninn are the two ravens that belong to the god Odin. 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. However, it should be said, that it is not possible to point at a place on the map and say that was the island. 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 … Burning a log in celebration of Yule started well before medieval times. 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. 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. However, he did allow Christian drinking feasts at Christian holidays. At the blót, sacrifices are made by either pouring out a drink as an offering, or sacrificing an animal, and eating its meat.”. | Meaning, pronunciation, translations and examples This family was among others known for their enormous amount of wealth. Many Pagans of different faiths choose to celebrate Yule proper on this day regardless of the actual solar event. Aromatherapy Spray. On that day, an amazing thing happens in the sky above us. Well, it is, and it isn’t. Yule, also known as Yuletide, does have many commonalities to Christmas. The Yule sacrifice (Jólablót) should be held at the full moon, and as many days as it takes until the mead runs dry. Recognize that we too are a part of Nature and are a part of its seasonal cycles. Interested in learning about some of the traditions behind contemporary holiday celebrations? Holiday season has arrived in the world of Assassin’s Creed Valhalla and the Vikings are celebrating! Embrace the cold by building a snowman, making snow angels, go snowboarding or ice skating. We do not know of the exact location, but it is probably the great pagan hall that used to be in old Uppsala. ... 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 … 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 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. 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. Make a Yule Log or Light Candles. Where does Yule originate from? The sun (Old Norse: Sól) is female, and the moon (Old Norse: Máni) is male. the longest night of the year. As much as we all love the holiday season of building up to Yule, it can also be quite tiring. The Classic Yule Log You Know And Love! Thanks! Christmas (Swedish: jul, IPA: ()) is celebrated throughout December and traditionally until St. Knut's Day on January 13. 1. Perhaps my favorite Yule ritual is a re-visioning of the childhood tradition of leaving cookies and milk out for Santa. There is actually one source that describes this pagan winter solstice ritual before Christianity got its grips on the Scandinavians. Whatever your beliefs or preferences to celebrate this time of year, it is a wonderful way to have a Mid Winter Celebration! It was made from an oak tree and it was found at Pilkmosen in Give, Denmark. At Yule/Christmas celebrate being with family and loved ones regardless of the reason. As I briefly mentioned at the blót that the King Haakon the Good was part of. Thorbjørn Hornklofi Hrafnsmál 6, 1-4. 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. This is the turning point of the year, when the days gradually become longer and the darkness of winter is overcome. 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. Ásatrú is an old Norse word, consisting of Ása, which is referring to the Norse gods, and trú, which means faith. This would have been done to prevent the second Yule month in the following year to start before the winter solstice. Finally, the cups were raised in the honor of their ancestors who rested in the mounds. But I also understand that some parts of the country (and world) don't have 60* Decembers. The lunar calendar needs an exception, something that can be observed in the northern hemisphere, and something that is always the same. The whole Yule month is therefor celebrated from winter solstice until the first full moon. Yuletide is the pre-Christian Germanic Midwinter celebration. Traditionally, carving wishes and spells into a Yule log and then burning it is a meaningful and simple way to cast and celebrate Yule. When Scandinavia changed from being small clans and nations of pagans to mostly Christians, the old name Yule (Old Norse: Jól) remained. 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). English: Thor said: tell me, Alvísby the fate of all families. While I have drawn in part from traditional European customs, this is in no way a reconstructionist effort. Take a walk through the local park and feel Nature’s dormant energy around you. It is liked a blurred image, we can see something, but we are not quite sure what we see. Yule, The Midwinter Solstice. 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. On Yule we experience the longest night of the year. 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. You can swear an oath for anything that you want, however, other pagans could punish you, if you broke the oath. With the season 1 update 1, you will notice that the Ravensthorpe area is all set to celebrate the Yule Festival in AC Valhalla. 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. It signifies joy about literal longer and brighter days ahead. For example, people in Australia might opt to celebrate Yule — and Christmas, for that matter — between the 21st and 23rd of June. was brought into the home to burn for the entire 12 days of Christmas. If you’re feeling especially crafty, consider making your own Yule log by carving a log using a fallen branch, some evergreens, and candles. And is Yule held on the winter solstice? The Spirit of Yule. 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 modern times, this holiday has been reformulated by Christians and renamed Christmastide. However, he did decide to travel to Trøndelagen in Norway and participate in the event. There are many rumors flooding around, that claims that the pagans made offerings during their Yule celebration. At this Yule sacrifice, 99 humans, including and just as many roosters, dogs, and horses were sacrificed to the pagan Gods”. 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). Winter Solstice (sometimes referred to as Yule or Midwinter) has been revered by many different people and cultures for thousands of years. 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. ”Every ninth year there was a big Yule sacrifice (Old Norse: Jólablót), in the village of Lejre. 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? 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. What is yule?. Some parties could have been held with the family and their friends, and others by the entire village. Ten ways to Celebrate Yule. 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. 10 Ways to Celebrate Yule 1. The annual tradition of making New Years Resolutions dates back more than 4,000 years to the Babylon civilization. How to use yuletide in a sentence. The farmers told the King to make sacrifices (Old Norse: blóta) to the Gods, and if he refused, it would cost him dearly. They are servants of the gods and most likely tools that were used to count the time. The main celebration and the exchange of gifts in many families takes place on Christmas Eve, December 24.The Lucia Day is celebrated during Advent, on December 13.. Christmas contains a mix of domestic and foreign customs that have been adapted. Yuletide is the pre-Christian Germanic Midwinter celebration. There are so many great ways you can decorate your home for the Yule season. In addition, if the Icelandic sagas are to be believed, this was a time of sacrifice as well. Compromise! Keep it safe in the modern era with a mini log for your hearth. After all, it is the shortest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere, and having a festival to celebrate the return of the sun would make perfect sense. History.com says Yule is the celebration of the winter solstice (midwinter), a.k.a. Celebrating Yule these days is definitely different than celebrating Christmas, though, for sure. Helpful 0 Not Helpful 1. 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. Then many of the participants at the blót emptied their cup and made personal promises of great accomplishments. The sun and the moon are also not deities in the Norse religion, but rather two personified beings. Which is the literal translation of Christmas into Danish. Yule is a traditional holiday holding roots in various northern European traditions, particularly that of the pre-Christian Germanic peoples. 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. 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. 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. It's mostly just a fun way to honor the gods and wights during one of the holiest times on the Heathen calendar. In Denmark about 50% eat duck and pork, pagans did not eat duck, but they definitely did eat pork at Yule. Also known as the Winter Solstice, Yule is a holiday that celebrates the shortest day of the year and the sun’s waxing. “They celebrate a festival, at which all come to worship the god and to eat and drink. 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. Swearing an oath for the coming year was also practiced by the Babylonians. One of the best ways to celebrate the winter solstice is to bake up a bit of magick. The following is a 12-day celebration I created for my own family, that modern Heathens can celebrate during the Yule season. Today this family seems to be most known for one name in the media, which is Ragnar Lodbrok (Old Norse: Ragnarr Loðbrók), who was one of these Scyldingas. Starting the next morning at sunrise, the sun climbs just a little higher and stays a little longer in the sky each day. However, if you did not keep your oath, it could have serious consequences. Yule originates from the 12-day festival, celebrated by Germanic peoples, around the winter solstice in December and January. Depending on your particular tradition, there are many different ways you can celebrate the Solstice season. The Winter Solstice is the shortest day and longest night of the year (this year it falls on 21st Dec). European Origins of Yule In the Northern hemisphere, the winter solstice has been celebrated for millennia. The scholars today, do seem to agree on the fact, that this place probably was somewhere in Scandinavia, possible in Northern Norway. Although most of the elements of this holiday were absorbed into Christmas traditions, many neopagans and Wiccans have resurrected the holiday. 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. 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. It began as part of the winter solstice festivities. This means that the 2nd Yule month, began with the new moon that occurs between the 22nd of December, and the 19th of January. Yule is celebrated for … ”Blót is a pagan ceremonial offering, held in honor of the Ancestors, Gods, and Spirits. Thomas J. Patti Wigington is a pagan author, educator, and licensed clergy. The North was at the borders of the known world, at least to him. The two tribes Angles and Saxons also brought these traditions with them when they migrated to the British isles. 7 Simple Ways to Celebrate Yule and the Winter Solstice This Season. 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 one who slaughters a sacrificial animal erects stakes at the entrance to his farmyard and puts the sacrificial animal on them. Who is known under many names, including ”the raven god”. There is a difference between Yule and Christmas. 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. Book 4, c.27. Yule is when the dark half of the year relinquishes to the light half. 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. Thule or ultima Thule means a distant place located beyond “the borders of the known world”. 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. Yule occurs at the same time as the celebration of the birth of Jesus in the form of a twelve-day feast, sometimes called epiphany or … Þórbjörn Hornklofi Haraldskvæði 6, 1-4, English: (NOTICE: Translated in context of the source) He wants to drink Yule out at sea, if he alone should rule, the brave King, and practice the sport of Freyr. 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. The King of Norway, Haakon the Good was expected to participate in the annual Yule sacrifice (Old Norse: Jólablót) with the farmers. The 13th month would be added if the new moon of the second Yule month emerged 11 days or less after the winter solstice. Nothing says Yule like a Yule log. However, while the sun was important to the people of the North, they were not obsessed with the sun. We can’t just push the sun theory completely away, the sun was still very important to the people of the North. By using Learn Religions, you accept our, Yule Craft Projects for the Winter Solstice, Pagan Practice for Families with Children, Pagan and Wiccan Prayers for All Occasions, 7 Sacred Plants for Yule, the Winter Solstice, Ten Christmas Traditions With Pagan Roots, Celebrating the Solstice in Spain: Las Hogueras, Service Project: Make a Bag to Help the Homeless, Talking to Pagan Kids About Jesus and Christianity. As you probably can see, this line is written in a poetic style, but its context matters if we want to understand its meaning. 1. It is a celebration of rebirth. And then there is the modern day gift giving which originated from hanging sacred presents on the Yule tree as offerings to deities such as Attis and Dionysus. How To Celebrate Yule and Winter Solstice and Activities. The old Norse meaning of the word seems to have been lost with time. Learn Religions uses cookies to provide you with a great user experience. Icelandic: Úti vill jól drekka, ef skal einn ráða, fylkir hinn framlyndi, ok Freys leik heyja. The word Thule is not really a place, it is more of a term. A fixed date for joining the lunar year and the solar year into a lunisolar calendar. Since the word Yule (Old Norse: Jól) is plural, it is possible that multiple ritual feasts were held during the Yule month. 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. You can Stekkjastaur (Sheep-Cote Clod) – 12th December. 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). Jolablot is also part of the Google AdSense program that is designed to advertise and referring traffic to other sites. The winter traditions spread across the continent of Europe when the people traveled either for trading, raiding or exploring. It is from the village of Lejre that the legendary royal family called Scyldingas (plural) (Old Norse: Skjöldungar) (Danish: Skjoldungerne) originates from. 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. Let’s unwrap another Yule myth, and see what the sources tell us. It is a celebration of rebirth. Here are some of my favorite ways to celebrate Yule. Offer a Blot to the Gods. She is the author of Daily Spellbook for the Good Witch, Wicca Practical Magic and The Daily Spell Journal. 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. Cups were raised in the honor of the gods, first Odin, Skól (cheers), and then to the Victorious King. 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 essence, it is the symbolic end of the cold and dark winter and the return of light. 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. The word Yule (Old Norse: Jól) is actually plural, and it literally means parties. The pagan Gods and Goddesses that are often associated with the Vikings and Scandinavia today, has a broader origin. 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 Slavic peoples to the east also have their own version of a winter festival called Koliada. 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). 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. Yule is older than Christmas. This is not something that I will elaborate more about in this article. The amount of sun crosses or sun wheels found at archaeological excavations in Scandinavia also adds to the fact that the sun was significant. However, Lejre is a village that has been mentioned many times in the past, for instance, in the famous saga of Beowulf. 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. Bake gingerbread cookies to bring… Some of the details that would have been commonly understood in society, and was a part of their everyday life. 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. 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. The farmers teased the King, and kept serving him mead, but without making the cross sign over them. 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. 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. The earth's axis tilts away from the sun in the Northern Hemisphere, and the sun reaches its greatest distance from the equatorial plane. Might not be something that we have the same understanding of today, and we could misunderstand parts of the text. 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. The Nordic people were probably seeing the sun and the moon as cosmic features, rather than a deity or an object that was to be worshipped. In 965 CE the Arab merchant Al-Tartushi visited Hedeby (Old Norse: Heiðabýr) in southern Denmark. A Yule wreath also appeared in the Yule celebration. On the morning of Yule, bundle up and take some cinnamon tea in a travel mug to a prime sunrise viewing location. Yule is an ancient Nordic winter celebration where sacrifices are made to the pagan 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). 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. 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. This was not something that the King was particular fond about, because of his Christian faith. 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. 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