Yuletide, Winter Solstice, Midwinter, Winter Rite, Festival of Sol Invictus/Mithras, Saturnalia (Roman), Cuidle, Alban Arthan, Gŵyl Galan Gaeaf, Meán Geimhridh (Welsh)
December 22, 2012 (Northern Hemisphere)
Yule marks the winter solstice, a time of renewal and rebirth, celebrating the return of the sun.
- Yule is marked by a time of great darkness and is the shortest day (longest night) of the year. The Winter Solstice is a turning point from when days begin growing longer.
- The Goddess gives birth to a son, the Horned God. The Goddess, slumbering through the winter of her labour, rests after her delivery.
- Since the God is also the sun, this marks the time of year when the sun is reborn. Yule is a reminder to Wiccans that the ultimate product of death is rebirth.
- It is also the time when it is thought the Oak King defeats the Holly King, who will rule from Yule until Litha (Summer Solstice). The Holly King’s image is similar to modern day Santa Claus.
- Yule/Yuletide was initially celebrated over a period from late December to early January.
- Other winter solstice festivals include Saturnalia (Roman), Mummurs Day (Celtic), Meán Geimhridh, Alban Arthan (Welsh), Hogmanay (Scotland).
- Traditions include lighting bonfires and candles to welcome the sun’s returning light.
- Yule symbols include evergreens, wreaths, holly, mistletoe, Yule trees, Yule Logs, Yule Goat, wassail, and the eight-spoked wheel.
- Traditional adornments include mistletoe, ivy, holly, and a Yule Log, usually of oak, pine or ash,. It is thought that a Yule Log must be cut, not bought, and a piece of Yule Log must be kept for the next year’s lighting.
- Herbs and plants that can be used include holly, mistletoe, ivy, pine, poinsettias, bay, ginger, cinnamon, valerian, and myrrh.
- Deities to honour at this time include all Newborn gods, Sun gods, Mother and Triple goddesses.
- Spellwork for balance, peace, love and harmony are good at this time of year. Key actions include introspection and meditation.
- Festival days of the ancient Persian God Mithras and the Roman God Sol Invictus were also held on December 25.
© A Year And A Day (2012)