Yule Tidings

For the ancient Celts, December was a month where they celebrated light being born from winter’s long shadows.

They believed that, on the solstice, the sun would jump up and retreat back down for just a moment, seemingly staying in roughly the same place, signaling that it would once again keep it’s promise to bless the people with its presence the next year.

Every year they believed the sun was born again.

They’d honor this birth with days and days of celebration, usually around twelve, and they would perform ritual acts of welcome including dancing, drama, music, games of feat, and above all, lighting fires that they thought would help the newly-born, fledgling sun gain strength. The “yule log” was both for heat and for fueling the sun back into its summer glory.

Also, interesting tidbit: “yule” is probably where we get the word “jolly” from in English.

Even after Christianity had overlaid its own festival onto the celebrations of Ireland and Scotland, the pagan roots shone (and shine!) through. The Scandinavian settlements of the area had dyed the yule practices in the proverbial wool of the people.

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