Friday, December 21, 2018

#WinterSolstice and #Yule and honoring Scrooge on #HumbugDay

Winter Solstice

The winter solstice, also known as midwinter, occurs when one of the Earth's poles has its maximum tilt away from the Sun. It happens twice yearly, once in each hemisphere.

Date: December 21, 2018
Celebrations: Festivals, spending time with loved ones, feasting, singing, dancing, fires
Significance: Astronomically marks the beginning of shortening nights and lengthening days
Also called: Midwinter, Yule, the Longest Night, Jól
Observed by: Various cultures

Pagan origins

The pagan Scandinavian and Germanic people of northern Europe celebrated a twelve-day "midwinter" (winter solstice) holiday called Yule (also called Jul, Julblot, jólablót, midvinterblot, julofferfest). Many modern Christmas traditions, such as the Christmas tree, the Christmas wreath, the Yule log, and others, are direct descendents of Yule customs. Scandinavians still call Christmas "Jul". In English, the word "Yule" is often used in combination with the season "yuletide" a usage first recorded in 900. It is believed that the celebration of this day was a worship of these peculiar days, interpreted as the reawakening of nature. The Yule (Jul) particular god was Jólner, which is one of Odin's many names.

The concept of Yule occurs in a tribute poem to Harold Hårfager from about AD 900, where someone said "drinking Yule". Julblot is the most solemn sacrifice feast. At the Yule blót, sacrifices were given to the gods to earn blessing on the forthcoming germinating crops. The Yule blót was eventually integrated into the Christian Christmas. As a remainder from this Viking era, the Midsummer is still important in Scandinavia, and hence vividly celebrated. 

(Source: Wikipedia)


Yule

At Yule is where it starts,
the wreath, the wassailing,
the ritual, the search for Sunna.

At Yule is where it starts,
the Wild Hunt, the binding,
the wandering, the feeding of Sleipnir,
the spirits who wander about to greet us.

At Yule is where it ends,
the nights of 12, the unfolding of our Wyrd,
the all night vigil, the pledge to Ingvi,
the burial of the boar´s head.

For Yule is both the ending and the beginning.
The Darkness and the Light.
It is where our Troth is most sacred
and where the ties to the Elder Kin are most binding.


© 2006 Sharon Ann Hess


An excerpt from A Christmas Carol, illustrating Ebenezer Scrooge's complete transformation from Bah Humbug to Christmas reveler...

Scrooge was better than his word. He did it all, and infinitely more; and to Tiny Tim, who did not die, he was a second father. He became as good a friend, as good a master, and as good a man, as the good old city knew, or any other good old city, town, or borough, in the good old world. Some people laughed to see the alteration in him, but he let them laugh, and little heeded them; for he was wise enough to know that nothing ever happened on this globe, for good, at which some people did not have their fill of laughter in the outset; and knowing that such as these would be blind anyway, he thought it quite as well that they should wrinkle up their eyes in grins, as have the malady in less attractive forms. His own heart laughed: and that was quite enough for him.


He had no further intercourse with Spirits, but lived upon the Total Abstinence Principle, ever afterwards; and it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge. May that be truly said of us, and all of us! And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God bless us, everyone!


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Always in spirit...

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