Graphic By petercui (Bide Cui) This time of year, most people are thinking about Christmas. Well, Christmas actually is derived from an older holiday--Yule, or the Winter Solstice. Yule is the shortest day and longest night of the year. Once the Winter Solstice passes, the days will start getting longer again! The date Yule lands on can be different from year to year, since it marks the aforementioned--it's usually anywhere from December 19 through December 22 (this year it lands on December 21). For many Pagans, the heralding of the sun's return is a symbol of rebirth (the God reborn of the Goddess).
Many of the symbols associated with Yule will be quite familiar, since Christmas has borrowed many of them. A decorated tree is one (we just call it a Yule tree in our house, instead of a Christmas tree!). Wreaths--symbolizing the Wheel of the Year--burning candles and Yule fires--calling back the sun--bells, and feasting all represent the Winter Solstice. So, when Yule comes around, try to remember that it means sunnier days are ahead!
Further Reading Suggestions:
McCoy, Edain. The Sabbats: A New Approach to Living the Old Ways. St. Paul: Llwellyn Publications, 1999.
I hope you found this tidbit interesting! If you would like me to touch on a particular topic that fits in this series, please don't hesitate to contact me with suggestions.
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