While the majority of the population is celebrating Christmas this December, many of us still like to incorporate some of the older aspects of the holiday season. Regardless of your religion, it is easy to honor the traditions of the season, and you might already be doing so!
Yule itself celebrates the birth of a Divine Child, and is generally celebrated on or around December 22nd. Though the child carries many names depending on your religion, the theme behind the celebration is the same– honoring the birth of life and the first hopeful glimmer of light that confirms renewal.
Many religions incorporate an evergreen tree– the Christmas tree or Yule tree. Have you ever wondered why? The evergreen, which never sheds leaves and remains strong and steadfast even through the harsh winter, is a symbol of life everlasting, and the strength it takes to overcome the harder times of life.
The colors red, green and gold are often found throughout many traditions. Red represents the life giving blood that courses through our veins, green the Earth that also gives us life through her vegetation and nourishment, and gold for the sun, which reminds us that once we get through the winter, the longer days will be returning.
And, who could forget the wonderful presents? As the birth of a baby is celebrated by all, the presents represent our love and affection for one another in this time of celebration.
So, without even knowing it, many of us already incorporate Yule traditions into our holiday festivities. If you are looking for ways to intentionally add some Yule to your holiday season, then read on!!
Yule logs are a great way to celebrate Yule and start a new family tradition in your home. Generally a piece of oak or birch, the Yule Log is adorned with green and red ribbons or other decorations, and is burned at Yule to symbolize the blazing forth of the Divine Child. You can attach notes of bad habits or things you would not like to carry with you into the new year, and watch them burn in the fire, simulating them burning out of your life. You can also attach resolutions or things you would like to accomplish in the new year, and as the log burns, so will the flame of motivation and inspiration. Yule logs are burned on Yule, and make sure to keep a small portion of the log as a lucky amulet for the upcoming year. Place it in your home for prosperity and protection, and burn it along with next year’s Yule log to represent the continuation of all things.
Wassailing is another ancient tradition that can be revived for the modern times. The word 'wassail' comes from the Anglo-Saxon phrase 'waes hael', which means 'good health'. Traditionally, wassail was a drink made with mulled ale, curdled cream, roasted apples, eggs, cloves, ginger, nutmeg and sugar, and served from a large bowl as a way to bring everyone together to drink and be merry. Drank during the 12 nights of Christmas, or specifically on New Year's Eve, family and friends wish one another good health and make toasts and offerings to tree spirits for a blessed upcoming year. Modern wassail can be made using wine or mead and mulling spices of orange peel, cloves, cinnamon and allspice, or, for the non-alcoholic version, use apple cider instead of wine or mead.
Whatever your religious beliefs, there are many ways to honor the past and incorporate some ancient traditions into your modern celebration. Blessed be to your family this holiday season!
Owner, Inked Goddess Creations