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> Yule, Why do we celebrate
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Celeste of the Stars1 
  Posted: 17-Dec-2003, 04:21 AM
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Why do we celebrate?
Yule is celebrated at the winter Solstice, and the precise date is
governed by the astronomical forces of the universe, but it's
typically around December 21st or 22nd. This the time of the longest
night of the year, and shortest day. From this day onward, the days
will start getting longer. So we celebrate the return of light and
warmth of the Sun.
Along a more mythological story-line, the God is reborn at Yule after
sacrificing himself at Samhain's harvest. The Goddess has mourned him
through the dark months of November and December, and now rejoices at
his return. She is seen in her virgin, Maiden aspect at this time of
year.

This idea of rebirth, is how Yule got tied in with the Christian
story of the birth of Jesus. Though the holiday has become heavily
Christianized, most of the traditions are based on older, Pagan
beliefs.


Things to do
Many mainstream Christmas traditions stem from original Pagan
practices, so a lot of these will seem familiar even if you are new
to the Pagan path.
Yule Log - A special log was chosen on the eve of Yule, for the
holiday fire. A small piece from last year's log is used to light the
fire. Charred pieces from the fire would be kept to protect the house
through the coming year. Today, the Yule log is sometimes represented
as a log cake instead. Or a small log is decorated with candles.

Kissing Under Mistletoe - The roots of this habit are unknown, but is
likely tied with the fertility aspects of mistletoe and that it was
viewed as a bringer of peace by the Druids. Some earlier versions of
this tradition say to remove one berry with each kiss. When there are
no more berries on the sprig of mistletoe, no more kisses.

Tree Decorating - There is some debate on the origin of this
tradition. Druids (and some other ancient culture s) saw evergreen
trees as symbols of everlasting life, because they seemed to live
through the winter undaunted by the cold. So using evergreen branches
as decorations symbolized the undying strength of the Sun. Decorating
the trees may have come from the ancient Roman festival of Saturnalia
(held around the Solstice).

Gift Giving - The Christians attribute the giving of gifts at
Christmas to the three wise men who brough gold, frankinsence and
myrrh to the newborn Jesus. But this tradition was common well before
the time of Jesus, during Saturnalia.


Herbs - Mistletoe, holly, evergreens
Colours - Red, green, white
Oils/Incense - Cedar, pine, myrrh, cinnamon, frankincense
Other Symbols - Wreaths, Yule log



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Have a day!

Merry Meet, Merry Part and Merry Meet Again
Blessed Be,
*Celeste of the Stars*

"Always shoot for the moon that way if you miss you'll always land among the stars"

'An it harm non do what you will'
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RavenWing 
Posted: 17-Dec-2003, 09:54 AM
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Thanks for posting this, Celeste of the Stars!


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Richard Bercot 
Posted: 21-Dec-2003, 11:17 AM
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Thank you Celeste, this is very informative indeed.

I knew of most of these traditions but I did not know how they came about.


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May your days be filled with Merriment and May you walk in Balance with Creator.

"For every day you fish, you live another day"
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Aaediwen 
Posted: 21-Dec-2003, 04:34 PM
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Thanks =) I knew that several of these were Pagan traditions, and I've heard it said that the date recorded as that of Christ's birth was moved to be closer to the Winter Solstice, although I've not heard when it actually was if this is the case. In any case, I had not discovered the actual Pagan roots of many of the traditions listed here (save the Yule Log). Thanks for the info =)


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