This year Yule also known as the Winter Solstice is on December 21, 2017. It is the time of year we are in the greatest darkness. Solstice is the shortest day of the year. Sometimes, people will stay up all night long and welcome the dawn. The morning marks the beginning of more light with each coming day.
The Norse people brought Yule into prominence. Nordic-influenced Celts celebrated Yule with many of the traditions we associate with modern Christmastime; evergreen trees, wreaths, holly, mistletoe, feasting and dancing.
One traditional belief of this night is the Holly King (the God of the closing year), would battle the Oak King (the God of the coming year) and lose. Another is that The Goddess gives birth to the Sun God. This is a time of divine births and also of divine deaths. Is it because we are so close to the Spirit world this time of year that there are so many births and deaths? Is it because the stars and moon are in a special alignment? It is simply because this is a magical time of year?
This is the time of death and rebirth of the Sun God. The days are the shortest; the Sun is at its lowest point in the sky. The Full Moon after Yule (January 1, 2018) is considered to be the most powerful of the whole year. This Yule/Solstice Ritual is considered to be the most powerful ritual of the entire year. This ritual is a festival of light, so light the fire in the fireplace, light a fire in the fire pit, enjoy a cup of “cheer” or cocoa, light candles, plug in the lights on the evergreen tree, hang a wreath on the front door, put lights on the house, candles in the windows and celebrate this Season with as much light and happiness as you can.
I love the longer, darker evenings and enjoy that time in front of the modern day fire (TV!) with my knitting in hand. We celebrate the Solstice in our family. This year my Mom will be celebrating with us and some longtime friends, our daughters and their families and even one of my daughter’s in-laws will join celebration! I love this group of people; they are fun, easy to be with and always enjoy a good celebration! This year we are going Italian!
The Italian theme will follow us all through the Yule Season beginning with Thanksgiving. We had an Italian inspired turkey dinner complete with the squash seasoned with olives and walnuts, potatoes and gravy. As a matter of fact, our fabulous appetizer tray has supplied us with a couple of light lunches since. Solstice evening brings a Pasta Bake with Salad, and Bread and I will keep the appetizer tray and wine decanter filled. My youngest daughter is bringing the Yule Log (left from last year’s fire at her Solstice celebration) wrapped in a blue ribbon.
This year Solstice is all about the female and the Goddess within the women of our circle. The power of these Goddess Women and the Gifts each of these women bring to the family and to our communities.
We will begin our Ritual for Yule in the living room with the lighting of candles, and taking a moment to look back and reflect on the past year and then look ahead to the future and make plans and set goals. We will write something we hope to accomplish during the upcoming year on a piece of paper and attach it to our Yule Log. A toast will be made to the New Year with homemade wassail (mulled wine) or cocoa and then head out to the patio to light the Yule Log in the fire pit. Some marshmallows may be toasted; perhaps a s’more or two will even be made.
Our family continues celebrating through Christmas Eve (at Mort’s, a movie – then home for more food), Christmas Day (family bowling tournament and home for a Spaghetti Dinner). New Year’s Day is a quieter affair with just Scott, myself and this year my mom. We will be making homemade gnocchi and braciole.
How do you celebrate the Yule Season? What Traditions do your family hold dear? Please share by leaving a message below.