How you can Celebrate Yule

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As people all over the world are and celebrating Christmas, us Pagans are celebrating Yule. This magical time of year is filled with a sense of hope as we approach the Winter Solstice, and we look forward to the finality of darkness, with only longer hours of sunlight to come.

But how can you mark the celebration?

Lots of Yule based traditions were actually absorbed into Christmas festivities when the Christian faith was established and the church chose to celebrate Christmas at the same time as Yule. Just like the Christians, we decorate our homes with evergreen, sing carols to ward away evil, light candles, give gifts and dance.

Smooching under the mistletoe singing hymns, wreath making and even giving gifts are all traditions that were also adapted by Christianity from the pagan faith, and were also originally used to celebrate Yule.

We do not partake in such activities to celebrate the birth of Jesus. Instead, we focus on honoring the Winter Solstice, the turning of the wheel, and the gifts of nature. But if you’re used to Christian traditions and you’re looking to make your holiday celebrations Pagan, by all means, continue to snog your beloved under the mistletoe and buy your mum a lovely candle, its all still pagan tradition!

The winter solstice is a great opportunity to get together with loved ones enjoy each others company, express gratitude for what we have and reflect of the year that has passed, as well as honoring the natural cycle of the world, and celebrating the coming phase of the wheel of the year.

The following are a few easy ways to do this:

  • Go on a lovely long walk and take in the offerings of natural world during the Winter Solstice. This is a lovely way to spend time with family, connect with nature and reflect. It is also the perfect opportunity to collect any of the fallen gifts of nature to take home for your altar.  
  • Light a fire and gather round it whilst sharing stories or legends with friends and family. This is a great way to connect and communicate with loved ones whilst harnessing the warmth and protection of the fire. You could even use this time for ritual, by throwing things into the fire that you intend to let go of moving into the coming year.
  • Feeding animals, especially in the wild, helps us to connect with the nurturing side of ourselves, as well as understanding our place in nature. Not to mention – its really fun for the kids to find the perfect spot and leave the woodland creatures lovely offerings.
  • Gathering for a feast is a common way to celebrate, throughout all cultures, faiths and traditions. In the Pagan faith we often focus on utilizing the season offerings of nature.
  • Reflect on your gratitude, give thanks for the opportunities you’ve had and memories you have created with the intention of taking that energy with you into the coming year.