Today is the day of the actual Winter Solstice. Merry Yule to everyone!
Winter solstice or Yule is a festival of light. It heralds the beginning of longer days, after the shortest and darkest days of the season. Yule is widely understood to be a 12-day celebration that begins on the eve of the Winter Solstice and ends at the New Year. This celebration was so important to people in ancient times that the Christians converted it into the 12 Days of Christmas. Despite the importance of this season, many Pagans know “Yule” to be one day and only celebrate it on the solstice, not for the full 12 days.
When is Winter Solstice?
The celestial event of the winter solstice doesn’t always fall on December 21st, the second day of Yule. Sometimes it falls on the third. Yet many people choose to celebrate Yule on the 21st every year for the sake of continuance. In ancient times Yule was actually a 12-day celebration, with Winter Solstice just one of the holy days.
Why We Celebrate Winter Solstice
As devotees to this path and to our Gods, it is up to us to create traditions based on what we know about this season combined with inspiration from how our ancestors might have celebrated. We can then use these traditions to celebrate with our loved ones, who can pass the traditions on to the next generations.
How We Celebrate Winter Solstice
This is always the busiest day of the Yuletide season for me, with many things to do. I got up this morning before dawn for a sun vigil. Then meditated a little before sunrise. At sunrise, I gave an offering of butter to Sunna, the sun goddess, said some prayers, and did a bunch of sun salutations.
Yesterday, for Mother’s Night, we made aebelskiver to honor the ancestors of our female lineages. Today we will enjoy the round globes for breakfast dipped in honey and cinnamon.
Since we are major foodies in this house and holidays tend to center around food for us, there will be a lot of cooking today. We will be making a pork roast with rødkål and roasted potatoes for dinner. For dessert, we will feast on risgrøt, a traditional Scandinavian rice porridge mixed with cream and topped with cream, cinnamon, and butter. We will leave an offering of it for our Tomtens. We also do a family Yule ritual together and burn a Yule Log. (In this post I write about the folklore of Tomtens, Nisser, and Yule Elves).
A Guide to Celebrating the 12 Days of Yule
To learn more about the significance of why we eat certain foods or leave them as offerings, and what kind of rituals we do with the family, check out my best-selling book A Guide to Celebrating The 12 Days of Yule.
Here you will find folklore and history surrounding the various foods we prepare for Winter Solstice and how you can celebrate it with your own loved ones. The guidebook includes history, rituals, activities, and recipes for each day.
The 12 Days of Yule Mini Course
If you want a little more support and would enjoy an audio guide, then please join me for the 12 Days of Yule Mini Course where you will receive a short recording for 12 days. Each recording is 5 minutes or less but packed with a combination of folklore, history, rituals, activities, and stories to help you ground into the reason for the season, and connect with Ancestors and the Old Powers.
Find out more here (at the bottom of the page): A Guide to Celebrating the 12 Days of Yule Mini Course
What solstice foods do you prepare? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!