Many are unaware of what this celebration is other than the fact that December 21/22 signals the shortest day and longest night here in the Northern Hemisphere. Or associate it with people going to ancient stone sites like Stonehenge or with Pagan Rituals and Druids.
While this is true, there are actually many things that this ancient celebration has brought to what we know as our Christmas celebrations of today.
The Winter Solstice was also known as ‘Yule’ a term we still use today – Yule time greetings, Yule Log (an actual log, not a chocolate one as we know now!)
Yule is primarily the celebration of the rebirth of the Sun. Many people associate the Winter Solstice, or winter itself with death, as it is the season in which nature is dormant, and in which many plants die off and crops are scarce. Conversely, the Winter Solstice, although it is the longest night, (boasting more than 12 hours of darkness), it is also the turning point of the year, as following this night the sun grows stronger in the sky, and the days become gradually longer once more. So the Winter Solstice is also a celebration of rebirth, and there are many traditions that stem from this perspective.
What did this celebration bring to our modern Christmas?
During this time it was traditional to bring Holly, Ivy and Mistletoe , which are evergreen plants into the home and served to remind that while nature may lie dormant during winter, it never dies. This tradition continues today as many people still use holly and mistletoe to decorate their homes, of course the biggest change is the introduction of a Christmas Tree. Although, this still has ties to the Yule celebrations…….they are evergreen after all!
Holly, Ivy and Mistletoe had great significance during these times and if you like, you can read more about them here.
Do you bring holly, ivy or mistletoe into your home during this time? Do you have other plants that are significant to this time of year?
In the link above there are some Yule time activities that you can try, do you do these already? If you do I’d love to know about them.