Festival of Yule: Rebirth of our Sun

Known as the ‘Festival of Yule’, the winter solstice is the shortest day, and the longest night of the year. The Celtic fire festival of Yule is a time of renewal and rebirth, celebrated by lighting fires to welcome back the lengthening days.

The rebirth of the sun at midwinter is celebrated, rather than the Christmas birth of a Son of God. In Celtic history, the renewed ascent of the sun in the sky beginning at the winter solstice is symbolically re-enacted as a battle between the oak tree of the summer and the holly tree of the winter.

It is their custom to celebrate with feasting, singing and dancing after they decorate a tree. The decorations are brightly coloured to represent the sun, moon and stars as well as the souls of those who die during the year. They also hang small gifts on the Yule tree as offerings to the gods and goddesses.

During these days, they also burn a huge Yule Log to honour the Great Mother Goddess and scatter its ashes around the houses for protection during the coming year.

One of the principle reasons for the rapid propagation of Christianity throughout Europe during the first millennium is the willingness of Christian leaders to incorporate the rituals, beliefs and customs of other religions.

 

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