Preparing for Yule, Part One; Origins and Traditions.
November 20, 2012 2 Comments
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.
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.
Here is a list of many winter festivals.
I found this web page that has a wonderful write up on many of the traditional Christmas symbols and their origins.
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.