As some of you may know I am pagan and even though I still celebrate Christmas I also celebrate a holiday called Yule. It happens every year on the winter solstice and is a pagan sabbat where we celebrate the shortest day of the year and the end of winter and coming of spring as the days start getting longer again. There are often giant feasts and rituals done on this day, but I’m going to go over some of the basic history and my own traditions.
Yule was around way before the Christian concept of Christmas and when Christians came and prosecuted the pagans and converted them a lot of Pagan sabbats became Christian holidays, so there is a decent amount of overlap between Yule and Christmas. For instance, the Yule log and the use of “Yuletide” in Christmas carols come from this ancient tradition! As do the significance of candles, and other lights that we have during this time of year because it signifies the element of fire and the sun returning in the new year.
If you’ve ever asked yourself where the “12 Days of Christmas” come from you can also look to Yule for the answer! Historically yule began on the 21st of December and ended on January 1st, so it was a 12 day long festival that brought in the new year and the Spring. Christmas trees are also evergreens because Pagans believed them to signify the regrowth of plants in the Spring.
Now that I’m all grown up I’m coming up with my own traditions for Yule to honor my relationship with the Goddess. (Josie is super supportive in this, too and it’s awesome!) So this year I made Yule crescent moon cookies in honor of the Goddess and Josie is making her recipe for Shepard’s pie to honor both of our ancestors from the UK (mine from Ireland, her’s from all over!) I’ll also be switching my altar cloth to a cool blue wintery tone and maybe doing some mediation. It’s simple but very cozy and I love it.
Do you celebrate Yule or other holidays other winter holidays like Hanukkah? If so what are your traditions for them and their significance to you? Please let me know in the comments!
If you’d like to hear more about things in my Pagan life please let me know in the comments! I’d love to tell you guys all about them!