Observed for over 1,500 years, Yule is celebrated every winter solstice to usher in a new cycle of growth. It signifies the end of darkness and cold winter nights and symbolizes rebirth and renewal as days slowly become longer.
Given its pagan origins, it’s associated with honoring deities or gods, such as Odin, in Norse mythology. In the past, Yule was celebrated with feasts and festivities, such as singing, drinking, and dancing. And now, the festivities have continued involving into a staple holiday for modern pagans and those that practice witchcraft.
Let’s take a look at some traditional Yule celebrations and how they’ve been adapted to fit a modern lifestyle.
Yule is an ancient holiday, so many of its festivities have changed over the years. In the 5th century, pagans celebrated Yule by gathering together to prepare for the looming winter. During each winter solstice, offerings were made to the gods and goddesses, and loved ones shared a feast.
Called the Feast of Juul, Germanic pagans celebrated Yule with singing, drinking, and dancing to mark the return of the sun. In Scandinavia and Northern Europe, families would gather around a Yule log, which was believed to bring good luck and prosperity. It would often burn for 12 days, signifying the 12 darkest days of the year.
Today, Yule is celebrated in much the same way, though it’s often adapted to modern times.
How You Can Celebrate Yule Today
Although the traditions of Yule have changed over the years, there are still many ways you can bring a modern Yule celebration into your home. Most modern-day pagans continue to honor Yule as a way of connecting with their spiritual roots and the earth.
If you’d like to commemorate Yule, here are some ideas:
- Gather with your loved ones for a feast.
- Decorate your home with evergreen and holly.
- Set up an altar.
- Make wreaths and garlands to hang around the house.
- Light a Yule log or candle to symbolize the return of the sun and warmth.
- Take part in activities that honor the gods or goddesses associated with Yule, like conducting a ritual.
- Spend time outside, connecting with nature and the changing of seasons.
Regardless of how you choose to celebrate, Yule is a time for reflection and gratitude. As we enter the darkest days of winter, the most important to do is recognize the coming of the light and take solace in knowing spring is just around the corner.
This December 21st to January 1st, take a moment to honor the age-old tradition of Yule this winter solstice. Connect with your spiritual roots and celebrate the start of longer days. Whether you choose to do it in a traditional or modern way, this ancient holiday is the perfect opportunity to come together and give thanks amidst the darkness and cold of winter.
At Willow Shaper, we offer everything you need to make your Yule celebrations memorable. Stop by the shop to learn more about our witchcraft tools in Loveland, CO.