Pronounced EWE-elle. The day when the darkest half of the year relinquishes its power to the lightest half. Falls on the winter solstice.
From this day onward, the days grow longer. The Sun King has been reborn. This is a day of uncomplicated celebration – the winter is waning, and it’s time to party! Many of the things we now associate with Christmas stem from Yule, including Christmas trees, the Yule log, and wassailing (i.e., singing Christmas carols).
Of course, these traditions were all slightly different during Yule celebrations – an evergreen tree was never cut down, as it was treasured for its immortality, but boughs of evergreen would be brought inside for the festivities. The Yule log wasn’t just a set piece for decoration – it was taken very seriously. You couldn’t buy a Yule log; it needed to be given as a gift, from a neighbor or family member, or harvested yourself. The log was traditionally made of ash, and it was very big. Once it was placed in the fire, the Yule log was decorated with evergreens, holly, and ivy, doused with cider or ale (apples being symbols of the sun), and dusted with flour (representing accomplishment, light, and life) before being set ablaze by a piece of last year’s log, which would have been carefully set aside for just this purpose. The log would be kept burning for twelve days – the twelve days of Christmas.
COLORS: red, green, gold, and silver
STONES: ruby, garnet, emerald, and diamond
HERBS: bayberry, evergreen, milk thistle, holly, and mistletoe
WAYS TO CELEBRATE:
- Learn some traditional wassails, like “The Holly and the Ivy,” “This Endris Night,” or “Gloucestershire Wassail,” and sing them to the nearby trees and fields.
- Decorate your home with mistletoe, holly, and ivy.
- Drink a lot of cider. This is traditional.
- Make some form of a Yule log, like setting candles in a log base and lighting them for twelve nights.
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