Preparing for Yule, Part One; Origins and Traditions.

Just a few weeks after Samhain and Pagans begin to prepare for Yule. What many people celebrate as Christmas is a mix of Celtic, Saxon, Nordic and Mithraic traditions. It’s interesting to note that more than one religion celebrates at this time of year.

Along with Christians, and Jews, Hindu’s celebrate Pancha Ganapati; a modern five-day Hindu festival celebrated from December 21 through 25 in honor of Lord Ganesha, Patron of Arts and Guardian of Culture. It has been described as a Hindu alternative to Christmas.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pancha_Ganapati

Ashura is celebrated by Muslim’s around the world.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Day_of_Ashura

Buddhists celebrate Bodhi Day: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bodhi_Day

And there is Kwanzaa; a week-long celebration by the African-American, African-Canadian community.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kwanzaa

Here is a list of many winter festivals.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_winter_festivals#December

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I found this web page that has a wonderful write up on many of the traditional Christmas symbols and their origins.

http://www.kynes.net/misc/yulesymbols.htm

Traditionally, Yule is the time when the Holly King passes over and Pagans celebrate the rebirth of the Oak King.  As I’ve stated before, I prefer to see the Lord and Lady together enjoying the seasons, so I tend to focus on the rituals of life and love at this time of year. I like the idea of spending time with my family, exchanging gifts and having good conversation over a good meal. Over the last few years, my Husband and I have cut back on the amount of gifts we give; focusing more on the spiritual side of the season. It’s interesting to note that the way people celebrate Christmas now is much different than it was celebrated a hundred years ago. Back then, only the rich celebrated with presents and good food. The poor did not celebrate the same way, except perhaps by attending church.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/victorianchristmas/history.shtml

http://seeker7.hubpages.com/hub/Celebrate-Christmas-Past

 

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About Darke Conteur
Darke Conteur is a writer at the mercy of her Muse. The author of stories in several genres, she prefers to create within the realms Science Fiction and Dark Fantasy. A pagan at heart, her personal goal it to find her balance within nature; exploring the dark through her stories and the light through her beliefs. When not writing or working with crystals, she enjoys knitting, gardening, cooking and very loud music.

2 Responses to Preparing for Yule, Part One; Origins and Traditions.

  1. I’ve been doing this crazy mix of solstice/Christmas. Being atheists, we don’t “celebrate” Christmas. But the whole month is devoted to plays and sing-alongs, and ballets, and parties. It can’t be ignored, and why would we want to? Plus, our families have traditional dinners that have been done for generations. We go along with all the fun and truly enjoy it. I even like to sing religious Christmas carols because they are beautiful songs.

    I’m the only Pagan in the group, so my acknowledgement of Yule is a quiet part of it all. But nobody minds if I say “Happy Yule” and burn a Yule log. So many of the Christian traditions are actually ancient pagan rites, so I just subscribe the original meaning to what we do, and go on my merry way.

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