YuLe or the Winter solstice

December 20 to 21 - a Quarter day, Solar festival

This solstice marks the birth of the Sun child as on this darkest night of winter, light returns to the world. It was customary to rise just before dawn and light candles to welcome the return of light to the world for on this morning after the year's longest night, darkness relinquishes its reign, as from this day forward, the hours of daylight increase.

Yuletide is a time for new beginnings as we each aspire to be better. It is a time to gather and feast. With joy we come together and relationships are renewed. The celebration holds a magic for us all as bonds of friendship and family ties are strengthened and we look ahead with hope.

The Symbols of the Season

For a millennia Yule has been a time of feasting and merriment and many of its old customs are still practiced in our modern celebrations. Traditions such as the greening the home with pine, holly, and mistletoe, decorating a tree, wassailing, baking specialty cakes, cookies, and breads, and the baking of the Yule log all can be traced back to antiquated Solstice customs. Even Santa, the bearded jolly old soul, parallels stories of the god Oden and the Norse Yule Elf who leaves gifts on the Solstice to those who give him offerings. From England he is Father Christmas, from Germany Kris Kringle, from Holland St. Nick and from Russia Father Winter. Gathering together for the feast, the giving of gifts, putting up lights, and the hanging of wreaths are all symbols of the Yuletide and these symbols of the season have origins dating back more than 5,000 years.

Holiday Foods

We celebrate the Yule season with the richest foods the year has to offer. Our yearning for the cool flavors of the summer garden has been replaced with the desire for hearty, warming foods. Our cravings are reflected in our holiday feasts with the hearty fare and the sweet, spiced flavors of winter squash, colorful root vegetables, pumpkin soups and pies, and rich desserts made with apples, pears, and oranges.

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