- Old friends are best. John Selden
Yule or Yuletide ("Yule time") is a festival observed by the historical Germanic peoples, later undergoing Christianised reformulation resulting in the now better-known Christmastide. Scholars have connected the celebration to the Wild Hunt, the god Odin and the pagan Anglo-Saxon Mōdraniht.
Ways to Celebrate Yuletide
Create a Pagan Winter Solstice framework for the entire holidays season - understand that Christmas Eve and Christmas, New Year's Eve and New Year's Day have their origins in Winter Solstice celebrations of a variety of Pagan cultures through the ages.
Decorate your home with sacred plants connected with Winter Solstice: evergreen wreaths & boughs, mistletoe, holly, and ivy. Learn about the Pagan symbolism of each.
Harvest a Yule tree in a sacred way from a tree farm that practices sustainable agriculture, if you can, or intuitively select a tree, cut or symbolic, from a shop in your area. Set up the Yule tree in your home and decorate it with lights, sun symbols, and other images. Reflect on blessings of joy, renewal, and well-wishes as you decorate the tree.
Kindle lights to represent the Sun. Decorate with electric lights and candles. On one of the nights of Solstice, turn off all lights, experience the longest night, reflect on renewal and peace, and turn the lights back on to symbolize the birth of the New Solar Year.
Recognize Santa as a multi-cultural, multi-religious character - learn about the Pagan roots of Santa and other Winter Solstice sacred gift bringers, including the Goddess Holda (see my article: When Santa was a Woman on beliefnet for more info).
Learn about holidays foods, symbols, customs, and/or lore from an ancestral ethnicity and incorporate something you have learned into your celebration of Yuletide. Listen to Pagan Yuletide music. Create a Yuletide chant, poem, or song.
Burn a Yule Log in a hearth, in a bonfire, or by burning candles on, in, or near a log of Oak on an altar. Learn about Yule Log traditions and create your own.
Meditate on the rising and/or setting of the Solstice Sun. Note its position on the horizon at this time of year and observe its change in position on the horizon as the days start lengthening again.
Join with others in celebrating Pagan Yuletide. Attend a ritual, be part of a festival, join an on-line discussion, host a party, listen to a Yuletide show on internet radio (I will be doing 3 podcasts this Yule!)
Contribute to a charity of your choice. Spread the joy of Yuletide.
Learn about sacred sites aligned with the Winter Solstice. Envision your own celebrations of Winter Solstice being part of a vast network of Solstice celebrations happening around the planet (Winter in the Northern hemisphere & Summer in the South). Watch live video of Winter Solstice at New Grange or other sacred site with coverage.
Focus on world peace and planetary well-being in your rituals, meditations, prayers, and other workings. Peace-making was part of Winter Solstice among many peoples in the past. Keep this tradition alive in the present and future.