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ARTICLES IN THE BOOK

  1. A Christmas Carol
  2. Advent
  3. Advent calendar
  4. Advent wreath
  5. Aguinaldo
  6. Ashen faggot
  7. Belsnickel
  8. Bethlehem
  9. Biblical Magi
  10. Black Friday
  11. Boxing Day
  12. Bubble light
  13. Buche de Noėl
  14. Burgermeister Meisterburger
  15. Caganer
  16. Candy cane
  17. Christkind
  18. Christmas cake
  19. Christmas card
  20. Christmas carol
  21. Christmas cracker
  22. Christmas dinner
  23. Christmas Eve
  24. Christmas flowers
  25. Christmas gift-bringers around the world
  26. Christmas lights
  27. Christmas market
  28. Christmas music
  29. Christmas number one
  30. Christmas ornament
  31. Christmas pickle
  32. Christmas pudding
  33. Christmas pyramid
  34. Christmas seal
  35. Christmas stamp
  36. Christmas stocking
  37. Christmas stories
  38. Christmastide
  39. Christmas traditions
  40. Christmas trees
  41. Christmas village
  42. Christmas worldwide
  43. Companions of Saint Nicholas
  44. Cranberry sauce
  45. David Zancai
  46. Ded Moroz
  47. Ebenezer Scrooge
  48. Eggnog
  49. Elf
  50. Epiphany
  51. Father Christmas
  52. Frosty the Snowman
  53. Fruitcake
  54. Ghost of Christmas Past
  55. Ghost of Christmas Present
  56. Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come
  57. Gingerbread
  58. Gryla
  59. Heat Miser
  60. History of some Christmas traditions
  61. Hogmanay
  62. Holly
  63. Jack Frost
  64. Jolasveinar
  65. Joulupukki
  66. Julemanden
  67. Koleda
  68. La Befana
  69. Lebkuchen
  70. Little Christmas
  71. Marzipan
  72. Mince pie
  73. Mistletoe
  74. Mr. Bingle
  75. Mrs. Claus
  76. Mulled wine
  77. Nativity Fast
  78. Nativity of Jesus
  79. Nativity scene
  80. Nine Lessons and Carols
  81. North Pole, Alaska
  82. Nutcracker
  83. Olentzero
  84. Origins of Santa Claus
  85. Pandoro
  86. Panettone
  87. Panforte
  88. Pantomime
  89. Pčre Noėl
  90. Poinsettia
  91. Regifting
  92. Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree
  93. Royal Christmas Message
  94. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
  95. Saint Nicholas
  96. Santa Claus
  97. Santa Claus Is Coming to Town
  98. Santa Claus on film
  99. Santa Claus parade
  100. Santa Claus' reindeer
  101. Santa Claus rituals
  102. Santa's Grotto
  103. Santon
  104. Secret Santa
  105. Snap-dragon
  106. Snow baby
  107. Snow Miser
  108. Star of Bethlehem
  109. Stollen
  110. The Grinch
  111. Tiny Tim
  112. Tio de Nadal
  113. Tomte
  114. Tree topper
  115. Turron
  116. Twelfth Night
  117. Twelve days of Christmas
  118. Twelve-dish Christmas Eve supper
  119. Wassail
  120. Wassailing
  121. White Christmas
  122. Winter holiday greetings
  123. Winter holiday season
  124. Xmas
  125. Yule
  126. Yule Goat
  127. Yule Lads
  128. Yule log
  129. Zwarte Piet

 

 
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CHRISTMAS TRADITIONS
This article is from:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yule

All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia:Text_of_the_GNU_Free_Documentation_License 

Yule

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 
For other uses, see Yule (disambiguation).

Yule is the winter solstice celebration of the Scandinavian Norse mythology and Germanic pagans. In Neopaganism, this celebration is largely reconstructed to various extents by various groups. In Wicca, a form of the holiday is observed as one of the eight solar holidays, or sabbats, where Yule is celebrated on the winter solstice: in the northern hemisphere, circa December 21, and in the southern hemisphere, circa June 21.

"Yule" and "Yuletide" (also see Yalda) are also archaic terms for Christmas, sometimes invoked in songs to provide atmosphere. Indeed, this is the only meaning of "Yule" accepted by either the full Oxford English Dictionary or the Concise Oxford Dictionary, and people unfamiliar with ancient Norse mythology's pagan traditions will not distinguish between Yule (Joul) and Christmas. This usage survives in the term "Yule log"; it may also persist in some Scottish dialects. In Denmark, Norway and Sweden the term "jul" is still the most common way to express Christmas, or "joulu" in Finland.

Etymology

Of the contested origin of Jól, one popular but factually unlikely connection is to Old Norse hjól, wheel, to identify the moment when the wheel of the year is at its lowpoint, ready to rise again (compare karachun). Linguists suggest that Jól has been inherited by Germanic languages from a pre-Indo-European substrate language and either borrowed into Old English from Old Norse or directly inherited from Proto-Germanic.

A far more likely origin for the term "Yule" can be traced via the Old English/Anglo-Saxon term "Géol", which is strongly connected with the word for yellow - "geol". One may see the evolution of this word for yellow throughout the Germanic and Scandinavian countries: German "gelb", Norwegian "gul", Danish "gul", Gaelic 'geal', Dutch "geel", Swedish "gul", Frisian "giel", even Italian "giallo", Lithuanian "geltonas" and Romanian "galben". The Old English Géol became the Middle English "Yole" and finally modern Yule, whereas the word geol or geolu evolved to become modern yellow. This same gradual divergence of terms also occurred in the other languages mentioned. All of these terms ultimately stem from the Indo-European root *ghel- meaning "yellow, green". Related are (Latin) helvus "yellow", holus "vegetable", (Greek) khloros "green-yellow". Also related with gold, to glow, gall. Since the Yule festival is native to the northern European lands, where midwinter is a time of short days and little light, it is a strong possibility that the original sense of Yule as a midwinter festival had much to do with "bringing back the sun" and creating bright, shining, gold or yellow sun- and fire-themed decorations and festivities. Another connection may be to the brightness of the sunlight glaring off the white snow, or simply the bright glare of the sun itself as it rides low on the horizon. Therefore, likely meanings may be "Shining Time", "Bright Time" or "Golden Time".[citation needed]

In the Scandinavian Germanic languages, the term Jul covers both Yule and Christmas, and is also occasionally used to denote other holidays in December, e.g., "jųdisk jul" or "judisk jul" (tr. "Jewish Yule") for Hanukkah. The word "jul" has also been borrowed into the neighboring Finnic languages, most notably to Finnish and Estonian (where it has been modified to "joulu" and "jõul" , respectively, and denotes Christmas in modern usage), although the Finnic languages have a linguistic origin different from Germanic languages. In Old English, geóla originally referred to the month of December; although the ancient Anglo-Saxon calendar had two "tides" of 60 day periods: "Litha Tide", roughly equivalent to modern June and July, and "Giuli Tide", being essentially December and January (the remaining months of the year were lunar, 29 day periods--the New Year began with the second half of that tide, also known as "Wulfmonath"). There was also a period of time, twelve days, intercalary between the two halves--or "monaths"--the which becoming the traditional Twelve Days of Christmas. The definition later narrowed to mean Christmas day only, with the returning of the Latin-based calendar--via the Normans--over time in Christian Norman and Anglo-Saxon England.

Traditional Yule

What is certain, is that Yule celebrations at the winter solstice predate Christianity, and though there are numerous references to Yule in the Icelandic sagas, there are few accounts of how Yule was actually celebrated, beyond the fact that it was a time for feasting. 'Yule-Joy', with dancing, continued through the Middle Ages in Iceland, but was frowned upon when the Reformation arrived. It is, however, known to have included the sacrifice of a pig for the god Freyr, a tradition which survives in the Scandinavian Christmas ham.

The confraternities of artisans of the 9th century, which developed into the medieval guilds, were denounced by Catholic clergy for their "conjurations" when they swore to support one another in coming adversity and in business ventures. The occasions were annual banquets on December 26,

"feast day of the pagan god Jul, when it was possible to couple with the spirits of the dead and with demons that returned to the surface of the earth... Many clerics denounced these conjurations as being not only a threat to public order but also, more serious in their eyes, satanic and immoral. Hincmar, in 858, sought in vain to Christianize them" (Rouche 1987, p. 432).

Connection to modern Christmas

Many of the symbols associated with the modern holiday of Christmas such as the burning of the Yule log, the eating of ham, the hanging of boughs, holly, mistletoe, etc. are apparently derived from traditional northern European Yule celebrations. When the first missionaries began converting the Germanic peoples to Christianity, they found it convenient to provide a Christian reinterpretation for popular feasts such as Yule and allow the celebrations themselves to go on largely unchanged, versus trying to confront and suppress them. The Scandinavian tradition of slaughtering a pig at Christmas (see Christmas ham), and not in the autumn, is probably the most salient evidence for this. The tradition derives from the sacrifice to the god Freyr at the Yule celebrations. Halloween and Easter are likewise assimilated from northern European pagan festivals.

English historian Bede's Historia ecclesiastica gentis Anglorum ("Ecclesiastic History of the English People") contains a letter from Pope Gregory I to Saint Mellitus, who was then on his way to England to conduct missionary work among the heathen Anglo-Saxons. The Pope suggests that converting heathens is easier if they are allowed to retain the outward forms of their traditional pagan practices and traditions, while recasting those traditions spiritually towards the one true God instead of to their pagan gods (whom the Pope refers to as "devils"), "to the end that, whilst some gratifications are outwardly permitted them, they may the more easily consent to the inward consolations of the grace of God". [1]

Neopaganism

As forms of Neopaganism can be quite different and have very different origins, these representations can vary considerably despite the shared name. Some celebrate in a manner as close as possible to how the Ancient Germanic pagans observed the tradition, while others observe the holiday with rituals culled from numerous other unrelated sources, Germanic culture being only one of the sources used.

Germanic neopaganism

In Germanic Neopagan sects, Yule is celebrated with gatherings that often involve a meal and gift giving. Further attempts at reconstruction of surviving accounts of historical celebrations are often made, a hallmark being variations of the traditional blót.

Groups such as the Asatru Folk Assembly in the US recognize the celebration as lasting for 12 days, beginning on the date of the winter solstice. [2]

Wicca & New Age

In particular, within Wiccan-influenced and New Age religions attempts at reconstruction are largely disregarded and the festival is only related to historical accounts by name, as a part the Wheel of the Year.

In some Wiccan sects the holiday is observed in a manner that commemorates the death of the Holly King identified with the wren bird (symbolizing the old year and the shortened sun) at the hands of his son and successor, the robin redbreast Oak King (the new year and the new sun that begins to grow) (Farrar & Farrar [1989] 1998: 35-38).

Secular Yuletide

Because Christmas happens during extreme summer temperatures in the southern hemisphere, a few Australians celebrate a second festival, known as Yulefest, at the southern winter solstice in June. A much more popular winter celebration is Christmas in July, not surprisingly celebrated (several times by some) in July, removing the celebration from all religious connections both Pagan and Christian.

Though notionally synonymous with Christmas, both religious and secular, Yule and Yuletide are sometimes used by English speakers as secular names for December 25th and late December in general in much the same way that the Scandinavian "Jul" does not distinguish between the Germanic Pagan feast, Christmas, and (quite possibly) the pre-Indo-European winter solstice celebration.

Scandinavian Humanist Yule Celebrations

This is usually observed around the same time as Christmas or at Winter Solstice, and can include family and friends, food and such, non religious songs and non-religious decorations like lights and decorated indoor or outdoor trees without religious connotations, gifts and even Santas.

References

  • Rouche, Michel, "Private life conquers state and society," in A History of Private Life vol I, Paul Veyne, editor, Harvard University Press 1987 ISBN 0-674-39974-9
  • Farrar, Janet and Stewart ([1989] 1998). The Witch's God, "IX Oak King and Holly King". 35-38. Phoenix Publishing, Inc. Blaine, Washington. ISBN 0-919345-47-6

External links

  • Icelandic Yule
  • Yule: The significance of the Yuletide Festival within the Religion of Asatru/Odinism from the Odinist Library
  • A Time for Remembering Yule by the Odinic Rite
  • Reginheim - Holidays
  • Yule Is Not the Wheel, an amateur linguist's take on the origins of the word Yule
Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yule"