The Krampus Kalendar: Y is for YULE

Wednesday 25 December 2019

Today is Christmas Day! Happy Christmas!

Of course, Christmas is pre-dated by two major pagan festivals, the Roman Saturnalia and the Viking Yule. To our pagan ancestors living in the frozen north of Europe and Scandinavia, the dark days of winter were a frightening time. The darkness was the domain of demons and malicious spirits. On top of that, Odin, chief among the Norse gods, flew through the sky on his eight-legged horse Sleipnir, looking down at the world with his furious one-eyed gaze, deciding who should prosper and who should perish in the year ahead.

Yule was the name given to the Viking festive feast, a time when light and new birth were celebrated in the face of darkness and death as witnessed in the natural world. It was at this time that evergreens were brought into the house; a sign that life persisted, even during these darkest days of the year.

The Anglo-Saxons even referred to the month of December as both Winter Monath and Yule Monath.

To help keep the darkness at bay, on or around the 21 December, the time of the winter solstice, fathers and sons would go out into the forests and bring back the largest log they could find. This massive piece of timber was then put on the fire and left to burn for the entirety of the season of Yule – twelve days altogether.

The English word Yule is a corruption of the Old Norse Jōl. However, Jōl itself may derive from hjól, meaning ‘wheel’. In this sense, it refers to the moment when the wheel of the year is at its lowest point, in midwinter, ready to rise again in the spring.

So here's hoping you have a very happy Yule and a prosperous new year!


Post a Comment

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen!

The Chrismologist © 2008. Template by BloggerBuster.