This is the day of the celebration most commonly known as Yule, or for the northern peoples of Europe, the Jólablót, Jullblot or julofferfest. A celebration held for some millenia, well carved in the history of mankind.
This is the day of the year when the night is longer, darkness prevails over the land, but after this day, the sun and its light will return and the days will gradually grow. This day is associated with rebirth, after the darkness, the sun will return and its light will spread all over the land, the fields will be ready to sow, and this union of the sun with the earth is something we all should celebrate. After an entire year of planting and harvesting to gather food for the comming winter, the trials of the year will come to an end, and a new year will begin. This is not only the rebirth of the sun and the earth but also of their children, plants and animals, the sun will help in the fertility of the soils, animals will wake from their slumber and hibernation and we humans will have joyful days when the sun and its warmth will touch our very souls. All of us know that the cold weather and the gloomy atmosphere of winter, leads us to a state of depression which is associated with the absence of external stimulations, and the coming of brighter days and the light of the sun and a warmer weather will give us joy, motivation and inner strength, now imagine how the northern people would feel, they have more cold and snowy days than others, so the coming of the sun, it was a real blessing, and would ensure their survival since it would be easier to plant in soils that would not be burned by frost. So this was also the rebirth of the human soul. In this day, people would gather and celebrate the end of the year and the coming of the new one, oaths were taken at the beginning of the year, and now that it came to an end, oaths were renewed, people would thank the gods and the spirits of the land, who helped them to survive and to ensure the survival of their loved ones, and thank to the ancestors for the protection and good advices. People at this night would also ask the gods for a good harvest in the next year. In the darkness of the year’s longest night, the fires burned bright and hot, the fires of each one’s house and the inner-fires that we all have, fires of love and friendship.
This celebration begins at Mōdraniht, or Mothers Night, at the sunset of the winter Solstice, the longest night of the year as i already said, and it ends twelve days later on the Twelfth night. You may see some similarities with the christian christmas, but that is the part of the history that most people aren’t interested in.
When christianity came into Europe, they tried to erase these ancient celebrations, and turned them into “christian celebrations” that did not existed, but would appear with the same similarities as the old celebrations so that the peoples of Europe wouldn’t feel much of a difference and could become christians in a peacefull manner, either that, or they would be forced to become christians, but this propaganda of all these celebrations thing, was indeed a successful plan to bring the pagans into the christian fold. The birth of the sun was replaced by the birth of Jesus, which back then no one knew when he actually born, so by the night of 24th to 25th seemed to be a good day, and this was actually the night when Odin, the all-father of the Germanic people, would come to earth with other spirits and ancestors, to give presents to the humans, and so in this way, father christmas was born. Twisting the old celebrations into new ones of an other religion, didn’t turned out good, people were used to celebrate all the feasts which their ancestors also celebrated in their own manner, people didn’t want to hear about such new things, about repentance, to save the soul or anything that christianity brought, people just wanted to be free and live happy under the laws of nature, with the company of their gods who were more friends than anything else, this new god, the christian god, would take their freedom away, and in truth that was what happened, not a god taking away their freedom or tell them to do things they didn’t want of course, but people who were constantly speaking and acting in his name.
With all of this, i just want you all to remember, that christmas is not about presents or the birht of Jesus, its meaning goes deeper in our European roots, it is about family, and the warm connections we have with our friends, our family members and our ancestors, to remember the deeds of the year and to try to make the next year even better, it is about love and after all the trials of the year, have a little peace with those we love the most.
Happy Yule to all.