Yule is a Pagan celebration of the winter solstice. It’s a holiday about the return of the Sun and the theme of rebirth. The idea is that now that the shortest day of the year has arrived every day after will be longer and that much closer to Springtime. This holiday was also once used to celebrate the Norse god Odin.
Since Yule is a festival about the Sun light makes up an important element of the holiday. Yule is often a time of grand bonfires. Lovely scented candles are burned throughout the home and before the invention of Christmas lights people would set candles in evergreen trees and light them, all to represent the slow return of daylight.
Evergreens trees are popular in Yule celebrations because they stay bright and leafy while other trees lose their leaves during winter. Ivy lives on after the host plant dies and thus came to be seen as another symbol of continued life. Holly was considered a protective sacred plant among the Druids and was popular as a decoration.
Celebrants often set up a Yule altar and cleanse their home by burning Cedar, Pine and Rosemary. Sometimes these altars are made from logs that have been decorated with Evergreen boughs and candles. These Yule log altars are burned on a bonfire on the evening of the winter solstice.
In total Yule lasts for 12 days from the winter solstice, on each of these days family members receive a special gift from their loved ones. Feasting on plum pudding, roast poultry, Yule log cake and drinking hot Wassail (hot Apple cider) is one of the best parts of the holiday. If you would like to make some tasty Wassail here’s a recipe to try out.
To create this recipe you will need 1/4 tsp ground Cloves, 3 Cinnamon sticks, 1 Orange peel, 10 whole Allspice berries, 6 cups Apple juice, 1 cup Orange juice, 1 Lemon peel, 1/4 tsp ground Ginger and 2 pieces Star Anise.
Place all of the ingrediants into a medium saucepan. Heat them up until they are almost boiling and then turn the heat down to the low setting. Let the mixture simmer on the stove top for about 30-40 minutes. When enough time has passed the Wassail will be ready to serve. If you wish you can add small chunks of fresh Apple into each mug as a garnish. I wish you the very lovliest of winter holidays!- Zwahk (Image from Unsplash.com)