Thursday, December 22, 2011

Yule

Yule is one of my favorite holidays. It was originally a Germanic holiday celebrated for twelve days, starting on the winter solstice.

Many decorations are the same as the Christian ones, because the traditions were adopted by them in an effort to sneak-save the Germanic pagans. As a result it is one of the two holidays that pagans who have not announced what they believe to decorate their homes in their own traditions.

In Germanic mythology Odin disguised himself with a long blue cloak and traveled to earth on his eight-legged horse. Once he arrived he would watch for people gathered around campfires to see how content the people were, and who was hungry. He left gifts of food for the hungry, then disappeared. Over time, the children began to anticipate his arrival and filled their boots with straw, carrots or sugar. Odin rewarded the kind children by replacing the food with gifts and treats inside the boots.

Many Wiccans celebrate the birth of the Great Horned Hunter God, who they view as the newborn sun. Other rituals are the death of the Holly King and the birth of the Oak King.

In Greek mythology, Demeter is looking forward to Persephone returning and winter begins to loose its hold.

Personally, I decorate my small tree and give gifts to my immediate family, including my pets. I would also extend this to aunts, uncles, and cousins, but I'm too poor to buy over 50 presents every December. I also have dinner with family on Christmas (since they are Catholics), followed by watching a movie or playing a group game like Trivial Pursuit or Rock Band.

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