Learning Wicca

One witch's way down the pagan path.

Yule : History and Traditions

Yule

Dates: Dec 20-22 or Jun 20-22
Colors: Red, Green, White, Gold

Yule is the pagan celebration of the winter solstice. It falls between December 20-22 for the Northern Hemisphere and June 20-22 for the Southern Hemisphere. Yule marks when the earth is at the farthest point of the sun. Making the winter solstice the longest, coldest day of the year.

Yule’s origins can be traced to the Norse. Even many common Christmas traditions such as caroling and the Christmas tree can be traced to these early celebrations. The Norse celebration of Yule was just that, a time for much merrymaking. The would be a great Yule hunt which usually consisted with a catching wild boar. After which there would be a three to twelve day feast, full of eating, drinking and music. They would decorate with pine and evergreens to symbolize the coming renewal of life. Large fires would be built using oak logs. These logs were then given the name “Yule logs”.  Oak was chosen for it’s hardiness and long burning as the fires needed to last the entire fest. A piece of the log was then saved and used to start the next years fire.

In some Wiccan traditions, this is the time for the battle between the Holly King and the Oak King. Each are twin aspects of the Horned God both fighting as rivals for the affection of the Goddess. The Holly King wears read and is said to be driven by a team of eight stags. His rival the Oak King is the god of the forest. They each rule half the year. The Holly King being the stronger at winter and the Oak King in the summer.

Yule is the celebration of the rebirth of the Horned God. He leaves our Goddess between Mabon and Samhain and then returns reborn as the Sun. He is the great hunter and feast are held in his honor.

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This entry was posted on December 5, 2012 by in History and Lore, Holidays.

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