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Yuletide- Winter Solstice
December 20-23 (check your calender)

Blessed Yuletide Greetings to you!  This ancient winter festival permeates many modern cultures and traditions, and in my viewpoint, is the Mother of all religous observances at this time of year.  It's rich, 5,000 year history is part of our ancient it's symbols of light and greenery seem so second-nature to us. 

The Sun is the focus of this rite.  On the day of the Winter Solstice, it makes it's lowest arc in the sky, taking with it the least amount of life-giving daylight  of the year.  This is a polarized day, with it's extreme balancing the fiery intensity of Litha, the Summer Solstice of June.  The ancients all over the world reognized the importance of this day by erecting  temples of worship that alligned with the sun on solstice days.  Magnificant Stongehenge in England is one such example. 

Many bygone cultures depicted the Sun as a child of the Earth Mother waiting to be born on this day.   The birth of the Sun Child was celebrated with great joy, as it's energy would again return to the Earth in the form of longer, warmer days suitable for planting life-sustaining food.  Much dancing, chanting, noise-making and merriment coaxed the Sun Child into birth on the Eve of the Solstice, in wich great bonfires were made in symbolism of the sun's great energy and giver of life. 


Greenery has also been associated with the Yuletide.  It  represents life in Nature ever renewing itself.  Having green at this brown, bare time of year brings the promise of a springtime coming.   Evergreen trees became symbolic of Yule in regions where they grew.   (hence, the Yule, or later, "Christmas" tree)  However, other trees and their bows have been used to symbolize the solstice, too. 

The green bows are sometimes fashoned into circular wreaths, representing the wheel of the year, or entire trees are decorated with gingerbread, red, yellow and sparkly balls, sun images, and stars. 

more to come...on how we celebrate the Yuletide Work in progress!
this page was created on December 21, 2000


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