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A Brief History Of Yule

Written by Wren

Yule originally comes from Germanic and Norse traditions. It was more synonymous with a season rather than a single holiday. It lasted for what we would now consider the month of December. It was a time for hunting after the last harvest of the year. This is also where we get the “great Hunt” from. On the Winter solstice for three days a giant yule feast was had that would mark the start of the new year and the return of the sun, as the nights begin to be shorter and the days longer.

This is a time for storytelling and oathmaking, and mariages. It was common practice during this time to partake in a Symbel. A drinking horn would be passed around and everyone would take turns boasting about great feats they have accomplished, swear an oath, or just tell a great tale.

There is also the tradition of the Yule Log. originally a tree was carefully chosen and then felled. It would be brought to the hearth or wherever they decided to set up the fire. The end of the tree trunk would be set into hearth and it was lit with a brand made from last year’s yule tree. As the trunk burned the tree was pushed further into the fire, making it last for several days. Now the yule log is often much smaller and used to light a fire for a single night, or sometimes candles are places in holes that were put into the log. Some people will also put oaths or wishes into, or tied to the yule log for the start of the new year.

Like many of the other traditions of Christmas that have come from Yule it is also part of the three day festival to give gifts to those you love.

While yule has no roots in Wicca, Wicca has adopted yule as the time when the Great Horned God is reborn.

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