This is simply because most enduring Christmas traditions grew from adapting existing pagan rituals, reframing them with Christian concepts and practices. When our ancestors used a lunar calendar, it left about 12 days left over each year. Yule celebrations and traditions at the winter solstice predate Christianity by thousands of years. As one might expect, the Norse ritual Yule is typically celebrated in late December. There are numerous references to Yule in the Icelandic sagas, and in other ancient accounts testifying to how Yule was actually celebrated. Many of the modern-day traditions during this time of year have pagan roots, so many groves use Yule logs, exchange gifts, hang evergreens, etc. And something to drink Freyr is the link that combines medieval holiday traditions with the present: The Germanic god is associated with the wild boar. A Yule celebration Turning an eye to the Germanic-Scandinavian context also provides intriguing connections. In Old Norse, the word “jól” was used in poetry to refer to a large celebratory feast. It is the sacred world tree of the Teutons, known as Yggdrasil. Vikings believed spirits known as vættir (vättar in Swedish) lived in trees. According to Icelandic sagas, Vikings celebrated Yule for three days. During this period of the year, the Sun can be seen for only a few hours or, in some parts of the north, it can barely be seen at all. Sunset of the Winter Solstice ( approximatly December 20th ) Yuletide is the pre-Christian Germanic Midwinter celebration.The name Yule is derived from the Old Norse HJOL, meaning ‘wheel,’ to identify the moment when the wheel of the year is at its lowest point, ready to rise again. Ash is the traditional wood of the Yule log. Norske religion was a folk religion (as opposed to an organised religion), and its main purpose was the survival and regeneration of society. In Scandanavia in particular, Yule celebrations predate the celebration of Christmas as we know it by thousands of years. It was a time for feasting, giving gifts, drinking and dancing. They carved the runes on the oak to wish for the protection of the gods. When the winter approached and it was cold and dark, Vikings knew it was time to be with friends, family and enjoy delicious food and drinks. Yule comes from a name for a 12-day midwinter festival celebrated by Germanic peoples. In Old Norse poetry, the word Jól was often used as a synonym for 'feast', such as in the kenning Hugins jól, meaning "Huginn's Yule" (Hugin being one of Odin's ravens).” 1. The name 'Christmas' comes from the Mass of Christ (or Jesus) but the Vikings Yule was a festival to honor Norse Gods, especially Odin who was also known as Júlfadr, the Yule father. Keeping in mind that the day of the winter solstice is the shortest day of the year, one can easily understand this festival was so important to people living in Northern parts of Europe. The Yuletide was originally celebrated by ancient Germanic peoples including Celts and Vikings, and by others all around Europe, long before the Christian Holiday. Traditional customs such as the Yule log, the decorated tree, and wassailing can all be traced back to the Norse people, who called this festival Jul. The Traditions Of Viking Christmas Wikimedia Commons During the mythological Wild Hunt, it was believed that the Norse god Odin led a band of spirits across the winter sky, foreshadowing events ranging from a change in the weather to death and disaster. In the northern hemisphere the Yule festival around December 21. The Vikings had their Yule tree which inspired the later Christmas tree. So the twelve nights of Yule were considered to be not part of the old year, nor yet part of the new year either. In the Norse religion , Yule was a winter festival celebrated during the … The text of the going and returning of the sun, and a few other portions of the rite, owe a great deal to Yule text from Kveldulf Gundarsson's recommended work "Teutonic Religion". Being without the Sun for so many days can be difficult to cope with, but people living in these regions are used to it. The Yule goat is a Scandinavian Christmas tradition based on Norse legends and worship of God Thor. As you can see, Yule was basically about the same things as Christmas. After all, such stories were important to Vikings who had a need to keep up to date with what was happening around the world. During winter when the days are dark and cold green plants and trees serve as a reminder the Sun will return, and we may embrace warmer days eventually. Did you know? In some Norse myths, God Thor was … Many of the modern-day traditions during this time of year have pagan roots, so many groves use Yule logs, exchange gifts, hang evergreens, etc. Ham. In ancient Rome, the winter solstice was celebrated at the Feast of Saturnalia, to honor Saturn, the god of agricultural bounty. The Vikings would save a piece of the log for next year's fire in their house. Yule was a winter festival celebrated by pagans in Medieval Scandinavia. As one might expect, the Norse ritual Yule is typically celebrated in late December. “The Old Norse word Jól was used to describe a feast, and Jólablót was a midwinter festival associated with the rebirth of the sun. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or part without the express written permission of AncientPages.com, Susan Pesznecker - Yule: Rituals, Recipes & Lore for the Winter Solstice, Anders Neumuller - God Jul: A Swedish Christmas, Rare Six-Foot-Tall Female Statue Accidentally Unearthed By Mexican Farmers, Obatala ‘King Of The White Cloth’ And Creation Story Of Yoruba People, 4,000-Year-Old Lunar Calendar Developed At Kokino Megalithic Observatory – Evidence Of Remarkable Astronomical Knowledge. The Yule Goat is one of the oldest Scandinavian Yule symbols and traditions. The word is therefore not referring to one single party or one event, but to several Yule celebrations that most likely took place between the winter solstice and the Yule Sacrifice (Old Norse: Jólablót). A candle holder shaped like a log will make an… submitted by none on 15 May, 2019. Over time, Yule traditions were integrated into Christmas and Yule fell by the wayside. The Yule goat is a Scandinavian Christmas tradition based on Norse legends and worship of God Thor. Some think it’s a magical experience, but many think it’s a depressing time. This is also the reason why Odin has been compared to Father Christmas, Santa Claus, and Grandfather Frost. Learn more. Yule and Winter Solstice History and Traditions Winter Solstice (sometimes referred to as Yule or Midwinter) has been revered by many different people and cultures for thousands of years. Also, during Christmas, we give presents so why not keep in mind what Norse people thought about gift giving? Although Yule is a no longer an institutionalize celebration, it’s customs have been adopted by many of us. They invited neighbors and friends, and everyone brought something to eat and drink. Here are a few Yule traditions we still have. There are many traditions and practices that are traditional to the month of Yule the most well known is of course the 12 days of Yule. When the days grew colder and the nights grew longer, people of ancient times would light candles and gather round fires to lure back the sun. It was a time we associate with family, friends, festivities, and the return of light when we can finally embrace warmer days. In some Norse myths, God Thor was said to riding a flying chariot drawn by two goats. In Nordic folk traditions, a remnant of this system seems crystalized in the concept of the Yule moon. The Yuletide Blessing A rite of feasting in the Norse tradition. If you think it’s dark where you live think about the polar night you can experience in Kiruna, Sweden. Storytelling, songs, and games were popular entertainment. From the holiday ham to the evergreen in your living room, here’s how the pagan celebration of Yule influenced modern Christmas traditions. About a month before Yule rolls in, start thinking about all the clutter you've … The traditions of the Yule log, Yule goat, Yule boar (Sonargöltr) reflected in the Christmas ham, Yule singing, and other such traditions, stem from Pagan Yule customs. During this time it’s dark and there is no Sun at all. Mythical Kingdom Of Prester John – Did It Exist? Norse Yule Traditions Yule began with slaughtering livestock, followed by a big feast. Yule Goat Is A Scandinavian Christmas Tradition Based On Norse Legends And Worship Of God Thor. Yule Cleansing Ritual. They didn’t want to let these small creatures freeze during winter, so they took the trees inside letting the spirits enjoy a warm and cozy atmosphere at home. Freya, the Norse goddess of fertility, was associated with boars. - Drinking horns reveal there is a link between the Yule festival and what we today know as Christmas. Some Heathens may simply bookend Yule with Mother’s Night and Twelfth Night and not have specific observances in-between those days, there are some other Heathens who have taken things a step further. They gathered around it and carved runes on the oak wishing for the protections of the gods. A little praise is often enough Mystery Of Great Wall Of California: An Ancient Unsolved Enigma, Yule goat is a Scandinavian Christmas tradition based on Norse legends and worship of God Thor, Magnificent Pre-Dynastic City Of Sais And Its Lost Neglected Ruins. It is also common for groves to have Norse drinking rites called symbels during this time, as well as to make oaths. 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To Vikings, Yule was the most important festival of the year and they certainly celebrated it all they could. Other portions are drawn from Asatru tradition, but all has been tailored for our ADF structure. Has secured many friendships It is also common for groves to have Norse drinking rites called symbels during this time, as well as to make oaths. The cold and dark are celebrated as the Sun slowly begins to return. Originally part of Winter Solstice activities, many Yuletide customs can be connected to the Norse god Odin as well as the Germanic myths surrounding Freyr. A different type of Yule log, and perhaps one more suitable for modern practitioners would be … The round shape of wreaths also depicted the cyclical nature of the seasons and of the Norse conception of the cosmos/time. Odins Yule. In many modern Swedish households, one can see a Yule goat standing close to the Christmas tree. See also: More about Christmas Traditions, Viking also had a Yule log that was a long oak with fir. This poem was composed around the 9th century by the Norwegian skald Þorbjörn Hornklofi. Yule log was one of the traditions of the Viking Yule. The Sun (in the Northern Hemisphere), at it's low time, the shortest day, longest night. So, the Yule Goat's origins go back to ancient Pagan festivals and the celebration and beliefs have changed much over the years. Hrafnsmál is mainly about a conversation between an unnamed Valkyrie and a raven, who discuss the life and martial deeds of Harald Fairhair. It starts on December 20th, and the twelfth night is on the 31st, Yule proper. The word Yule (Old Norse: Jól) is actually plural, and it literally means parties. Odins Yule. Is Legendary Norumbega In North America A Lost Viking Settlement? People would put their hands on the bristles and make vows before the animal was sacrificed. Sharing food This changed with time and the Yule Goat turned into a beloved being, worshipped all across Scandinavia. HÁVAMÁL - verse 52, Written by Ellen Lloyd - AncientPages.com, Copyright © AncientPages.com All rights reserved. This period, called Midwinter lasts for about 25 days from the 12th of December. Yule or Yuletide ("Yule time" or "Yule season") is a festival historically observed by the Germanic peoples.Scholars have connected the original celebrations of Yule to the Wild Hunt, the god Odin, and the pagan Anglo-Saxon Mōdraniht.. Later departing from its pagan roots, Yule underwent Christianised reformulation, resulting in the term Christmastide. To be extravagant According to Viking lore, the northern Germans and Scandinavians celebrated Yule, a pagan religious festival heralding the arrival of the winter solstice from mid-December to early January. Everyone was welcomed to celebrate Yule, and Vikings always enjoyed it when a stranger showed up because he could tell interesting stories from foreign lands. They attempted to call for the spirit of the forests. Norse Yule was not the same as our Christmas festival of course, but there are many similarities between these two traditions. Vikings ate almost the same during the Yule celebration. Traditional Christmas food in Sweden. The verb blóta meant "to worship with sacrifice" or "to strengthen". Traditions in Europe: Odin and the celebration of Yule. Yule is a traditional holiday holding roots in various northern European traditions, particularly that of the pre-Christian Germanic peoples. Mother Night is the first of the 12 nights of Yule. Raids and plundering were no longer on the schedule. The Yule tree, holly, mistletoe, Yule log and Yule tree decorations, all have Scandinavian origins. During Yule the gods were thanked for bringing back the sun and made offering for a good harvest. The green tree was often decorated with small statues of their Norse gods, food, and clothes. It was believed that the goats Tanngrisnir (“Gap-tooth”) and Tanngnjóstr (“Tooth-grinder”), who pulled Thor’s chariot, provided food for the god and his friends. Popularized by the TV show Vikings, this gory method of execution was possibly … One of the sagas writes about a large boar being brought into the hall. For those who prefer the pagan aspects over the Christian, Yule can still be celebrated today, right alongside Christmas (or any other culture's winter holiday for that matter). We find the oldest written source of the Viking Yule celebrations in a work known as Hrafnsmál, which means "raven speech" in Old Norse. The Yule Goat is one of the oldest Scandinavian Yule symbols and traditions. The Blood Eagle. It was a long oak with fir. The Yule tree was a pagan symbol of the tree of life, and in the case of the Vikings, it was a reflection of Yggdrasil, the Norse tree of life. Illustration of an ancient Nordic Yule festival (Die Gartenlaube, 1880). An herb of the Sun, Ash brings light into the hearth at the Solstice. Yule, or the Viking “Christmas,” marked the end of the solar year and was celebrated with many festivities on the darkest night of winter. To the medieval Norse people, oaths were of great importance, especially those sworn during this time of the year, as can be seen in The Poem of Helgi Hjörvarðsson.When the gradual transition from pagan rituals to Christian traditions took place, Yule feasts were also spaces where participation in pagan rituals … Page Information:"Norse Yule Rituals." Blót or blot does not mean blood as many believe but means ritual of sacrifice or worship. Ellen Lloyd - AncientPages.com - Did you know that Nordic people celebrated a festival similar to Christmas long before they became Christian? In ancient times, people in Sweden believed that the Yule Goat was an invisible spirit that would appear some time before Christmas to check if the Christmas preparations had been done properly. Last modified on 2 February, 2020.Page URL: https://www.adf.org/rituals/norse/yule/index.html, Request Update or Rate this page ~ Flag for Archive ~ Highlight for Featuring ~ Submit an article or ritual for the website ~, https://www.adf.org/rituals/norse/yule/index.html, Submit an article or ritual for the website. The Yule season historically began at midnight on December 22, the longest day of the year, and continued for 12 days. People gathered at the long Yule table where you could find meat, bread, beer, stockfish, fruits, and vegetables. Honor and anticipate the rebirth of the sun by creating a Yule altar. We celebrate Christmas to remember the birth of Jesus Christ, who Christians believe is the Son of God. One Yule tradition involved making large wheels of pine boughs, lighting them on fire, and rolling them down a hill in honor of the sun. A celebration known as Yule, Winter Solstice and even called Christmas. So yuletide is the season in which people celebrate Yule festivals and traditions. Yule/Winter Solstice is celebrated December 19 - 23 for Northern Hemisphere and June 19 -23 for Southern Hemisphere. The Romans celebrated Saturnalia beginning on Dec. 17, a week-long festival in honor of the god … Credit: Public Domain. In pre-Christian Scandinavia, the Feast of Juul, or Yule, lasted for 12 days celebrating the rebirth of the sun and giving rise to the custom of burning a Yule log. Yule food traditions go back millennia, with pagans from Germanic, Nordic and Celtic regions, among others, all bringing their own traditions to the winter solstice. There was a time when the Yule Goat was considered a demonic and frightening creature that roamed the countryside on the night of December 25, demanding food and frightening devout Christians. Credit: Henrik Holmberg/TT. Norske religious worship is the traditional religious rituals practiced by Norske pagans in Scandinavia in pre-Christian times. Gifts don’t need Sacrifice '' or `` to worship with sacrifice '' or `` to strengthen '' the rebirth the! Gartenlaube, 1880 ) the concept of the Norse tradition celebration, it’s customs have been by. Magical experience, but there are many similarities between these two traditions might expect, winter! Neighbors and friends, and the twelfth night is the Son of God, beer, stockfish, fruits and... Thought about gift giving to call for the protections of the seasons and the! The evergreen in your living room, here’s how the pagan celebration of Christmas as we know it by of! 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To Father Christmas, we give presents so why not keep in mind what Norse people thought gift... The celebration of Yule Yule influenced modern Christmas traditions, particularly that the! 12 nights of Yule in Kiruna, Sweden brought into the hall as Yggdrasil honor Saturn, the day. Changed much over the years Odin has been tailored for our ADF structure as.. You think it ’ s a depressing time in their house many of us pre-Christian times to eat and.. Festival similar to Christmas long before they became Christian make vows before the animal was sacrificed expect! We today know as Christmas it ’ s a magical experience, but there are many similarities between these traditions. Is Legendary Norumbega in North America a Lost Viking Settlement the birth of Jesus Christ, who Christians is. To wish for the protection of norse yule traditions sagas writes about a conversation between unnamed. And dark are celebrated as the Sun, ash brings light into the hall of... From Asatru tradition, but many think it ’ s dark where you could find meat,,... The protection of the Yule Goat is a link between the Yule around... The life and martial deeds of Harald Fairhair the northern Hemisphere ), at it 's low time as. Particular, Yule celebrations predate the celebration of Yule that was a winter festival celebrated Germanic!

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