A blessed Yule to all of our friends and readers, from everyone here at Suzie K at the Secret Garden. We hope you’re having a lovely, peaceful festive season. Here’s just a few words on the history of the holidays!
What is Yule?
The start of Yule is marked by the Midwinter Solstice, which falls on the 21st (or 22nd) December each year. The roots of this pagan celebration stretch wide, between Norse, Saxon, Germanic and Celtic traditions, but there’s common branches throughout.
The Yule celebration, which lasts 12 days, starts on Midwinter as it is the shortest day of the year. The cold winter months can feel long and dark and it’s good to have a celebration to look forward to that marks the return of the sun, the nights drawing out, and the promise of warmer days.
As we celebrate still with food and drink, feasting would have traditionally been a part of Yule celebrations, in order to symbolically call back the sun. A boar would have been the Yule feast centrepiece (rather than a turkey) in honour of the Wild Hunt of Norse and Saxon tradition.
Fires would also be lit to entice back the sun, including those fuelled by a Yule Log. Yule Logs might be made of chocolate cake now, but originally they were cut tree trunks that would be kept burning in the fireplace constantly throughout the twelve days of Yule, to encourage the sun to come back. The last part of each Yule Log was always kept to start the first fire of the new year, and the log’s ashes were used in different charms and spells.
Decorations have their origins in the old tradition too, with people bringing evergreen foliage into the home as a reminder of spring and new life, and to symbolise eternal life – this is where we get the tradition of the Christmas tree from. Mistletoe would be hung in doorways to keep out evil spirits and invite in those seeking hospitality.
It’s the perfect time of the year to light a candle to represent the returning sun, reflect on the past year and be grateful, to take stock of what we want to achieve in the coming year, and think how we can help others achieve their goals as well.
How we celebrate at Suzie K at the Secret Garden
Our beautiful Turn of the Wheel celebrations are highlights of the year for us here at Suzie K, and Yule is no different. Our 2022 Yule celebration on 21st December is fully booked up now, but you can see a list of all of our Turn of the Wheel dates for 2023 over at our events page – they book up very fast, so be quick if you want to secure a place. Each event is a vibrant celebration of the cycle of the seasons – you can see some highlights from our 2022 Beltane event here.
Finally we’d just like to say a very happy festive season to you however you celebrate, and all our best wishes to you for a happy and healthy 2023!
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