While Christmas may be one of the best-known winter holidays, it is far from the only one. This time of year witches and pagans get together to celebrate the ancient Yule. Some of you who are unfamiliar with Yule may be surprised at how common certain aspects of it are in our winter celebrations. For example, mistletoe and evergreen wreaths–although usually associated with Christmas–are actually symbols of Yule celebrations. Over time they became absorbed into general winter celebrations and so people began to think fo them as “Christmas” decorations. However, the use of greenery and gold candles are a long-standing tradition meant to symbolize the continuation of life even in the darkest part of the year (the winter solstice).
It’s not just Yule decorations that Christmas has appropriated over the years, either. Turkey, spiced cider, eggnog, and nutmeg have traditional roots in Yule celebrations. Feasts have always been popular, with a particular emphasis in celebrating foods unique to this time of year. The intention is to celebrate what the earth provides for us when it is provided for us, and to do so with our family and friends as a way of ushering in a prosperous new year.
So, grab some eggnog, put a yule log on the fire, and get ready for a wonderful Yule celebration this holiday season.