Also known as: Winter Solstice, Alban Arthan, Feill Fionnain, Yuletide, Midwinter, Sun Return, and Fionn's Day
|Date: Winter Solstice, usually December 21st|
|Symbols: Evergreens, Wreath, Yule Log, Holly, Spinning Wheel|
|Colors: Red, Green, and White|
|Deities: Newborn Gods; Triple Goddess; Virgin Goddesses|
|Herbs: Holly, mistletoe, ivy, cedar, bay, juniper, rosemary, frankincense, myrrh, sandalwood, and pine. Offerings can be apples, oranges, nutmegs, lemons, pinecones, oak leaves, and/or whole cinnamon sticks.|
Ancient Meaning: Yule is a time of the greatest darkness and is the shortest day of the year. Earlier peoples noticed such phenomena and supplicated the forces of nature to lengthen the days and shorten the nights. Wiccans sometimes celebrate Yule just before dawn, then watch the Sun rise as a fitting finale to their efforts.
|How Ancient Pagans Celebrated: After the Norse brought Yule into prominence it nearly replaced Samhain as the date of the New Year, and many modern Celtic covens still honor Yule this way. The Nordic-influenced Celts celebrated Yule with many of the trappings we associate with modern Christmas observances; decorated evergreen trees, wreaths, holly, mistletoe, feasting, and dancing.|
They also believed that on this night the Holly King, as the God of the waning year, would battle the Oak King, the God of the waxing year, and lose. Often Yule coven rituals have members reenact this fight."
from "Celtic Myth and Magick" by Edain McCoy
Modern Meaning: Yule is the remnant of early rituals celebrated to hurry the end of winter and the bounty of spring, when food was once again readily available. To cotemporary Wiccans it is a reminder that the ultimate product of death is rebirth.
How Modern Pagans Celebrate: Since the God is also the Sun, this marks the point of the year when the Sun is reborn as well, Thus, the Wicca light fires or candles to welcome the Sun's returning light. The Goddess, slumbering through the winter of Her labor, rests after Her delivery.
Click here for an example of a Yule Ritual
For more information on the origins and customs of Yule see
Mike Nichols' page on Midwinter's Eve
|All images on this page (c) 1998-2002 - Joelle Miller|