The Yule is celebrated as a winter festival. Though it originated in Northern Europe, it has been celebrated during the pre-Christian times by Scandinavian, Anglo-Saxon and Germanic pagans. The date was determined by a lunar calendar and the day for celebration shifted from late December to early January.
Yule is a great day for celebration among the modern wiccans. They observe the day on a Winter Solstice, ie. December 21 or 22. The Winter Solstice is the celebration of the Sun s rebirth to the Earth.
The similarities with Christmas
After the advancement of Christianity, and with the adoption of the Julian calendar, the Yule was celebrated on December 25, coinciding with the Christmas Day. The terms Yule and Christmas are often used interchangeably to denote the other. Many countries like, Norway and Denmark refer to Christmas as jul . In Finland, Christmas is called joulu .
The Christmas tree as we know it was actually a Pagan celebration of making a Yule tree. The Yule tree was adorned with lighted candles to resemble the light of the Sun.
Yule is a time for celebration as it depicts the rebirth of the light of God shining in our lives once again. The Yule is the festival which predates the conversion to Christianity. The festival continued through the Middle Ages, but were only frowned upon when the Reformation came into being.
The usual custom of slaughtering a boar in the Yule festivities is still reflected in the modern tradition of the Boar s Head Carol in Christmas. The symbols of the burning of the Yule log, hanging of holly and mistletoe, the eating of ham, the adorning of the Christmas tree are all common between Christmas and the Yule.
The Wiccan Celebration
In Wicca, Yule is a holiday which is one of the eight solar holidays. Some Wiccan sects identify this day with the death of a Holly King resembling the wren bird.
The Neopagan Celebration
For the Germanic Neopagan sects, Yule celebration often consists of gift giving and meals within gatherings. Some Neopagans observe the tradition whereas other Neopagans commemorate the day with rituals selected from vivid unrelated sources.
So, the Yule is a festival that has remarkable similarity to Christmas and is celebrated by the modern Wiccans and other Neopagans.