As Christmas approaches, so too comes Yule, or the Solstice. It was celebrated around December 21st by medieval people, and many people today still celebrate elements of the old world.
Yule is when the dark half of the year gives way to the light half. Known as Solstice Night, or the longest night of the year, much celebration was had as people awaited the rebirth of the Oak King, the Sun King, the Giver of Life that warmed the earth.
Bonfires were lit in the fields in celebration, and crops and trees were wassailed with toasts of spiced cider.
Children were escorted from house to house with gifts of clove-spiked apples and oranges which were laid in baskets of evergreen boughs and wheat stalks dusted with flour. The apples and oranges represented the sun, the boughs were symbolic of immortality, the wheat stalks represented the harvest, and the flour represented light, and life.
Our Christmas favourites, holly, mistletoe and ivy decorated the outside and inside of homes. A sprig of holly was kept near the door all year for good fortune.( Collapse )