Thursday, December 15, 2016

Winter Traditions and Holidays Part 14 - Yule

Yule (winter solstice)

  • Chambers Yule Log.pngA festival observed by the historical Germanic peoples, later Christianized into Christmas.
  • Scholars have connected the celebration to the Wild Hunt, the god Odin and the pagan Anglo-Saxon Mōdraniht.
  • Historically, Yule was celebrated for three nights from midwinter night.
  • Animals were sacrificed in the temple and there was feasting, drinking and toasting
  • The first toast was to be drunk to Odin "for victory and power to the king", the second to the gods Njörðr and Freyr "for good harvests and for peace", and thirdly a beaker was to be drunk to the king himself.
  • In addition, toasts were drunk to the memory of departed kinsfolk.
  • The feast had a function in the cult of the dead and in the veneration of the ancestors, a function which the mid-winter sacrifice certainly held for the West European Stone and Bronze Ages."
  • The traditions of the Yule log, Yule goat, Yule boar (Sonargöltr) still reflected in the Christmas ham, Yule singing
  • The Yule goat is a Northern European Yule and Christmas symbol and tradition.
    • celebration of the goat may be connected to worship of the Norse god Thor, who rode the sky in a chariot drawn by two goats.
    • The last sheaf of grain bundled in the harvest was credited with magical properties as the spirit of the harvest and saved for the Yule celebrations,
    • A man-sized goat figure is known from 11th-century remembrances of Childermas, where it was led by a man dressed as Saint Nicholas, symbolizing his control over the Devil.
    • In a Scandinavian custom similar to the English tradition of wassailing, young men in costumes would walk between houses singing songs, enacting plays and performing pranks. The group of Christmas characters would often include the Yule goat, a rowdy and sometimes scary creature demanding gifts.
  • Yule log is a specially selected log burnt on a hearth as a Christmas tradition in a number of countries in Europe.
    • In some countries the custom has now been replaced by the eating of a log-shaped cake, also named Bûche de Noël

No comments:

Post a Comment