posted on Dec, 25 2009 @ 10:07 AM
Happy Yuletide to all of the Asatruar, Odinists, and other heathens here on ATS and BTS.
Yuletide is perhaps the greatest of all Heathen holidays. It is a time of celebration and close family contact and lasts twelve days and nights; each
of which is a month of the preceding year in miniature. Many of the customs asociated with Christmas actually began with Heathen Yule rites and
customs. Many Gods and Goddesses are honored during Yuletide and Asatruar believe that they, as well as the spirits of the earth and our ancestors,
all join us for the celebrations. All are our kith and kin, after all.
Odin, in his aspect as the God of Death and Transition, is honored at this time. "The Wild Hunt" rages over the whole world seeking out evil and
corruption, sweeping up the dead and ushering out the dead old year itself. It's also common to honor Freyr in his aspect as the just born (or just
conceived) new year of growth and promise.
Mother Night (Beginning of Yule Tide)
As the night before the Winter Solstice, this is the time when the New Year is born. We honor the beginning of the Sun's return and the breaking of
Winter's spell. Traditionally, this night belongs to Frigg, the mother Goddess and mistress of home and hearth. Celebrations center around the wife
or mother of the family as she symbolically cleans the house in preparation of Yule festivities, invites both the living and the dead to join the
party, and bestows blessings and gifts on her family and friends. Mother Night Parties follow a special blot and ceremony where the house is lit with
candle light. Sometimes, this includes a Yule Wreath of four candles, the decorating of an evergreen tree with sunwheels, and the lighting of the Yule
Log. I am especially fond of Mother Night as it was the the first Heathen holiday I ever celebrated.
Yule (End of Yule Tide)
This culminates the traditional twelve days of Yule. Traditionally, it is the night of the greatest feasting. This will usually include some form of
pork; pigs were a common winter meat source and were sacrificed at this time, also the boar is a sacred animal of Frey. Golden apples are another
treat and symbolize the youth and vitality of the new year. A vigil is held from dusk until dawn so that all kin may acknowledge the passing of the
Wild Hunt and honor the rising sun of the new year. The vigil is a festive one and includes a long sumbel, story-telling, song, etc. Oaths sworn on
this night, usually on Frey's boar or the hammer of Thor, are particularly holy. Words during sumbel are said to bear great weight and power. It is a
time to count blessings, take stock and lay a course for the future.
Merry Christmas to the Christians out there, and Happy Hanukkah to the Jewish Folks out there. Happy Kwanzaa and Happy Holidays also.