Yule Be Amazed by This Holiday!

Before Christmas, there was Yule.

If your looking for a return to nature this holiday season, Yule is a good place to start.

Carnegie Museum of Natural History

If your looking for a return to nature this holiday season, Yule is a good place to start.

Sierra Perlmutter, Columnist

Yule was a holiday originally celebrated by Germanic peoples and Pagans, people who worship the natural world and deities rather than one main god. Yule was celebrated before its Christianization, during which the event was adapted into Christmas. However, these two holidays have more in common than you might think.

According to World History Encyclopedia, Yule is one of eight sabbats on the wheel of the year, a schedule that marks the equinoxes, solstices, and the midpoints between them. When one of these dates rolls around, it is usually celebrated in a variety of ways; the traditions differ from holiday to holiday. Yule celebrates the winter solstice and the fact that afterwards, the days will only get longer and brighter. Though it was originally celebrated by the Germanic people long ago, Yule is still quite popular among Pagans, Wiccans, or anyone else who follows the wheel of the year.

Yule is celebrated in a variety of ways. Sea Witch Botanicals has some excellent suggestions, such as burning Yule logs, a log covered with natural resources that fit the holiday scent like pine or cinnamon, or making Yule log cakes, chocolate roll cakes iced and decorated in a fashion that makes it look like a log. Though Yule log cakes are perhaps the most traditional baked goods to make during Yule, any baking or cooking will suffice. Creating altars that honor nature and the sun, burning candles, sage, or incense, meditating, reflecting on your year, and setting goals for the new year are also popular ways to celebrate. 

The first similarity that Christmas carried over from Yule is the “twelve days of Christmas.” There was, at first, twelve days of Yule, celebrated from around Dec. 20 to 31. According to Valerie Biel, this was because Yule was originally celebrated on the lunar calendar year, where there are twelve days left over at the end of the year. These twelve days were seen as special because it was believed to be when the veil between the physical and spiritual world was at its thinnest. Christmas also has twelve days, a tradition adapted from Yule. Many aspects of Yule, such as baking or gift-giving, were also adapted into Christmas. Additionally, they share attributes such as the general use of “holiday scents,” such as cinnamon, pine, and dried orange. Both holidays celebrate family, gratefulness, and giving. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what traits were adapted by Christmas from Yule, but they do have many similarities.

All in all, Yule is about the sun and the natural world. Because we all experience sunlight and nature, anyone can celebrate it, and you shouldn’t limit yourself just because you don’t follow traditional Pagan beliefs or practices. Yule is a holiday for everyone.