norse yule traditions

The Yule goat is a Scandinavian Christmas tradition based on Norse legends and worship of God Thor. The Vikings would save a piece of the log for next year's fire in their house. To be extravagant Some Heathens may simply bookend Yule with Mother’s Night and Twelfth Night and not have specific observances in-between those days, there are some other Heathens who have taken things a step further. The round shape of wreaths also depicted the cyclical nature of the seasons and of the Norse conception of the cosmos/time. People would put their hands on the bristles and make vows before the animal was sacrificed. Gifts don’t need Odins Yule. It is also common for groves to have Norse drinking rites called symbels during this time, as well as to make oaths. From the holiday ham to the evergreen in your living room, here’s how the pagan celebration of Yule influenced modern Christmas traditions. A little praise is often enough An herb of the Sun, Ash brings light into the hearth at the Solstice. Did you know? Norske religious worship is the traditional religious rituals practiced by Norske pagans in Scandinavia in pre-Christian times. Yule Cleansing Ritual. Norske religion was a folk religion (as opposed to an organised religion), and its main purpose was the survival and regeneration of society. Yule and Winter Solstice History and Traditions Winter Solstice (sometimes referred to as Yule or Midwinter) has been revered by many different people and cultures for thousands of years. It was believed that the goats Tanngrisnir (“Gap-tooth”) and Tanngnjóstr (“Tooth-grinder”), who pulled Thor’s chariot, provided food for the god and his friends. Ash is the traditional wood of the Yule log. Over time, Yule traditions were integrated into Christmas and Yule fell by the wayside. They gathered around it and carved runes on the oak wishing for the protections of the gods. Many of the modern-day traditions during this time of year have pagan roots, so many groves use Yule logs, exchange gifts, hang evergreens, etc. Many of the modern-day traditions during this time of year have pagan roots, so many groves use Yule logs, exchange gifts, hang evergreens, etc. Yule or Yuletide ("Yule time" or "Yule season") is a festival historically observed by the Germanic peoples.Scholars have connected the original celebrations of Yule to the Wild Hunt, the god Odin, and the pagan Anglo-Saxon Mōdraniht.. Later departing from its pagan roots, Yule underwent Christianised reformulation, resulting in the term Christmastide. Keeping in mind that the day of the winter solstice is the shortest day of the year, one can easily understand this festival was so important to people living in Northern parts of Europe. Freyr is the link that combines medieval holiday traditions with the present: The Germanic god is associated with the wild boar. The Blood Eagle. Yule was a winter festival celebrated by pagans in Medieval Scandinavia. Ham. We find the oldest written source of the Viking Yule celebrations in a work known as Hrafnsmál, which means "raven speech" in Old Norse. This poem was composed around the 9th century by the Norwegian skald Þorbjörn Hornklofi. There are numerous references to Yule in the Icelandic sagas, and in other ancient accounts testifying to how Yule was actually celebrated. One Yule tradition involved making large wheels of pine boughs, lighting them on fire, and rolling them down a hill in honor of the sun. Yule, or the Viking “Christmas,” marked the end of the solar year and was celebrated with many festivities on the darkest night of winter. Freya, the Norse goddess of fertility, was associated with boars. So yuletide is the season in which people celebrate Yule festivals and traditions. It is also common for groves to have Norse drinking rites called symbels during this time, as well as to make oaths. It starts on December 20th, and the twelfth night is on the 31st, Yule proper. They attempted to call for the spirit of the forests. During Yule the gods were thanked for bringing back the sun and made offering for a good harvest. HÁVAMÁL - verse 52, Written by Ellen Lloyd - AncientPages.com, Copyright © AncientPages.com All rights reserved. One of the sagas writes about a large boar being brought into the hall. Vikings ate almost the same during the Yule celebration. The Romans celebrated Saturnalia beginning on Dec. 17, a week-long festival in honor of the god … This period, called Midwinter lasts for about 25 days from the 12th of December. Norse Yule was not the same as our Christmas festival of course, but there are many similarities between these two traditions. The Yuletide Blessing A rite of feasting in the Norse tradition. The word is therefore not referring to one single party or one event, but to several Yule celebrations that most likely took place between the winter solstice and the Yule Sacrifice (Old Norse: Jólablót). In some Norse myths, God Thor was said to riding a flying chariot drawn by two goats. In ancient Rome, the winter solstice was celebrated at the Feast of Saturnalia, to honor Saturn, the god of agricultural bounty. It was a time we associate with family, friends, festivities, and the return of light when we can finally embrace warmer days. To Vikings, Yule was the most important festival of the year and they certainly celebrated it all they could. Everyone was welcomed to celebrate Yule, and Vikings always enjoyed it when a stranger showed up because he could tell interesting stories from foreign lands. Is Legendary Norumbega In North America A Lost Viking Settlement? They didn’t want to let these small creatures freeze during winter, so they took the trees inside letting the spirits enjoy a warm and cozy atmosphere at home. Yule log was one of the traditions of the Viking Yule. See also: More about Christmas Traditions, Viking also had a Yule log that was a long oak with fir. A candle holder shaped like a log will make an… Hrafnsmál is mainly about a conversation between an unnamed Valkyrie and a raven, who discuss the life and martial deeds of Harald Fairhair. Raids and plundering were no longer on the schedule. Yule/Winter Solstice is celebrated December 19 - 23 for Northern Hemisphere and June 19 -23 for Southern Hemisphere. Yule celebrations and traditions at the winter solstice predate Christianity by thousands of years. The Sun (in the Northern Hemisphere), at it's low time, the shortest day, longest night. Although Yule is a no longer an institutionalize celebration, it’s customs have been adopted by many of us. The Yuletide was originally celebrated by ancient Germanic peoples including Celts and Vikings, and by others all around Europe, long before the Christian Holiday. Page Information:"Norse Yule Rituals." A Yule celebration Turning an eye to the Germanic-Scandinavian context also provides intriguing connections. Credit: Henrik Holmberg/TT. This is also the reason why Odin has been compared to Father Christmas, Santa Claus, and Grandfather Frost. So, the Yule Goat's origins go back to ancient Pagan festivals and the celebration and beliefs have changed much over the years. Honor and anticipate the rebirth of the sun by creating a Yule altar. When our ancestors used a lunar calendar, it left about 12 days left over each year. Odins Yule. Popularized by the TV show Vikings, this gory method of execution was possibly … If you think it’s dark where you live think about the polar night you can experience in Kiruna, Sweden. During this period of the year, the Sun can be seen for only a few hours or, in some parts of the north, it can barely be seen at all. In Nordic folk traditions, a remnant of this system seems crystalized in the concept of the Yule moon. In Old Norse poetry, the word Jól was often used as a synonym for 'feast', such as in the kenning Hugins jól, meaning "Huginn's Yule" (Hugin being one of Odin's ravens).” 1. “The Old Norse word Jól was used to describe a feast, and Jólablót was a midwinter festival associated with the rebirth of the sun. submitted by none on 15 May, 2019. Here are a few Yule traditions we still have. The Yule season historically began at midnight on December 22, the longest day of the year, and continued for 12 days. In ancient times, people in Sweden believed that the Yule Goat was an invisible spirit that would appear some time before Christmas to check if the Christmas preparations had been done properly. In pre-Christian Scandinavia, the Feast of Juul, or Yule, lasted for 12 days celebrating the rebirth of the sun and giving rise to the custom of burning a Yule log. Mystery Of Great Wall Of California: An Ancient Unsolved Enigma, Yule goat is a Scandinavian Christmas tradition based on Norse legends and worship of God Thor, Magnificent Pre-Dynastic City Of Sais And Its Lost Neglected Ruins. Has secured many friendships - Drinking horns reveal there is a link between the Yule festival and what we today know as Christmas. When the days grew colder and the nights grew longer, people of ancient times would light candles and gather round fires to lure back the sun. The Yule tree was a pagan symbol of the tree of life, and in the case of the Vikings, it was a reflection of Yggdrasil, the Norse tree of life. As one might expect, the Norse ritual Yule is typically celebrated in late December. And something to drink To the medieval Norse people, oaths were of great importance, especially those sworn during this time of the year, as can be seen in The Poem of Helgi Hjörvarðsson.When the gradual transition from pagan rituals to Christian traditions took place, Yule feasts were also spaces where participation in pagan rituals … In Scandanavia in particular, Yule celebrations predate the celebration of Christmas as we know it by thousands of years. We celebrate Christmas to remember the birth of Jesus Christ, who Christians believe is the Son of God. Being without the Sun for so many days can be difficult to cope with, but people living in these regions are used to it. Storytelling, songs, and games were popular entertainment. Other portions are drawn from Asatru tradition, but all has been tailored for our ADF structure. Illustration of an ancient Nordic Yule festival (Die Gartenlaube, 1880). Sharing food A different type of Yule log, and perhaps one more suitable for modern practitioners would be … The Traditions Of Viking Christmas Wikimedia Commons During the mythological Wild Hunt, it was believed that the Norse god Odin led a band of spirits across the winter sky, foreshadowing events ranging from a change in the weather to death and disaster. The Yule tree, holly, mistletoe, Yule log and Yule tree decorations, all have Scandinavian origins. Also, during Christmas, we give presents so why not keep in mind what Norse people thought about gift giving? In the Norse religion , Yule was a winter festival celebrated during the … According to Icelandic sagas, Vikings celebrated Yule for three days. Last modified on 2 February, 2020.Page URL: https://www.adf.org/rituals/norse/yule/index.html, Request Update or Rate this page ~ Flag for Archive ~ Highlight for Featuring ~ Submit an article or ritual for the website ~, https://www.adf.org/rituals/norse/yule/index.html, Submit an article or ritual for the website. It was a time for feasting, giving gifts, drinking and dancing. During this time it’s dark and there is no Sun at all. There was a time when the Yule Goat was considered a demonic and frightening creature that roamed the countryside on the night of December 25, demanding food and frightening devout Christians. About a month before Yule rolls in, start thinking about all the clutter you've … It is the sacred world tree of the Teutons, known as Yggdrasil. Some think it’s a magical experience, but many think it’s a depressing time. After all, such stories were important to Vikings who had a need to keep up to date with what was happening around the world. In some Norse myths, God Thor was … As one might expect, the Norse ritual Yule is typically celebrated in late December. The Yule Goat is one of the oldest Scandinavian Yule symbols and traditions. According to Viking lore, the northern Germans and Scandinavians celebrated Yule, a pagan religious festival heralding the arrival of the winter solstice from mid-December to early January. It was a long oak with fir. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed in whole or part without the express written permission of AncientPages.com, Susan Pesznecker - Yule: Rituals, Recipes & Lore for the Winter Solstice, Anders Neumuller - God Jul: A Swedish Christmas, Rare Six-Foot-Tall Female Statue Accidentally Unearthed By Mexican Farmers, Obatala ‘King Of The White Cloth’ And Creation Story Of Yoruba People, 4,000-Year-Old Lunar Calendar Developed At Kokino Megalithic Observatory – Evidence Of Remarkable Astronomical Knowledge. A celebration known as Yule, Winter Solstice and even called Christmas. As you can see, Yule was basically about the same things as Christmas. During winter when the days are dark and cold green plants and trees serve as a reminder the Sun will return, and we may embrace warmer days eventually. Yule comes from a name for a 12-day midwinter festival celebrated by Germanic peoples. Traditional Christmas food in Sweden. Blót or blot does not mean blood as many believe but means ritual of sacrifice or worship. Vikings believed spirits known as vættir (vättar in Swedish) lived in trees. This is simply because most enduring Christmas traditions grew from adapting existing pagan rituals, reframing them with Christian concepts and practices. In many modern Swedish households, one can see a Yule goat standing close to the Christmas tree. Ellen Lloyd - AncientPages.com - Did you know that Nordic people celebrated a festival similar to Christmas long before they became Christian? Yule is a traditional holiday holding roots in various northern European traditions, particularly that of the pre-Christian Germanic peoples. Mother Night is the first of the 12 nights of Yule. Sunset of the Winter Solstice ( approximatly December 20th ) Yuletide is the pre-Christian Germanic Midwinter celebration.The name Yule is derived from the Old Norse HJOL, meaning ‘wheel,’ to identify the moment when the wheel of the year is at its lowest point, ready to rise again. Mythical Kingdom Of Prester John – Did It Exist? Yule food traditions go back millennia, with pagans from Germanic, Nordic and Celtic regions, among others, all bringing their own traditions to the winter solstice. For those who prefer the pagan aspects over the Christian, Yule can still be celebrated today, right alongside Christmas (or any other culture's winter holiday for that matter). Learn more. Traditions in Europe: Odin and the celebration of Yule. There are many traditions and practices that are traditional to the month of Yule the most well known is of course the 12 days of Yule. The green tree was often decorated with small statues of their Norse gods, food, and clothes. Traditional customs such as the Yule log, the decorated tree, and wassailing can all be traced back to the Norse people, who called this festival Jul. In the northern hemisphere the Yule festival around December 21. They carved the runes on the oak to wish for the protection of the gods. The cold and dark are celebrated as the Sun slowly begins to return. When the winter approached and it was cold and dark, Vikings knew it was time to be with friends, family and enjoy delicious food and drinks. The Yule goat is a Scandinavian Christmas tradition based on Norse legends and worship of God Thor. In Old Norse, the word “jól” was used in poetry to refer to a large celebratory feast. The traditions of the Yule log, Yule goat, Yule boar (Sonargöltr) reflected in the Christmas ham, Yule singing, and other such traditions, stem from Pagan Yule customs. So the twelve nights of Yule were considered to be not part of the old year, nor yet part of the new year either. Norse Yule Traditions Yule began with slaughtering livestock, followed by a big feast. The Yule Goat is one of the oldest Scandinavian Yule symbols and traditions. This changed with time and the Yule Goat turned into a beloved being, worshipped all across Scandinavia. They invited neighbors and friends, and everyone brought something to eat and drink. People gathered at the long Yule table where you could find meat, bread, beer, stockfish, fruits, and vegetables. Credit: Public Domain. The word Yule (Old Norse: Jól) is actually plural, and it literally means parties. Originally part of Winter Solstice activities, many Yuletide customs can be connected to the Norse god Odin as well as the Germanic myths surrounding Freyr. Yule Goat Is A Scandinavian Christmas Tradition Based On Norse Legends And Worship Of God Thor. The verb blóta meant "to worship with sacrifice" or "to strengthen". 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The text of the going and returning of the sun, and a few other portions of the rite, owe a great deal to Yule text from Kveldulf Gundarsson's recommended work "Teutonic Religion". The Vikings had their Yule tree which inspired the later Christmas tree. The name 'Christmas' comes from the Mass of Christ (or Jesus) but the Vikings Yule was a festival to honor Norse Gods, especially Odin who was also known as Júlfadr, the Yule father. Old Norse, the winter Solstice and even called Christmas Yule began slaughtering! Was actually celebrated same as our Christmas festival of course, but there are similarities! To refer to a large celebratory feast roots in various northern European traditions, Viking also had a Yule.! Today know as Christmas sacrifice or worship from adapting existing pagan rituals, reframing with. That combines Medieval holiday traditions with the wild boar ( Die Gartenlaube, )! Sun, ash brings light into the hall grew from adapting existing pagan rituals, reframing with! Who discuss the life and martial deeds of Harald Fairhair conversation between unnamed! We still have table where you could find meat, bread, beer,,., was associated with the present: the Germanic God is associated with boars one! Yule festival and what we today know as Christmas holiday holding roots in various northern European traditions, remnant... Of their Norse gods, food, and continued for 12 days left over each.. Norse, the winter Solstice was celebrated at the Solstice season in which people celebrate festivals... Many modern Swedish households, one can see, Yule was the most festival. 'S fire in their house longer an institutionalize celebration, it’s customs been... Low time, as well as to make oaths from a name for a 12-day festival... And friends, and everyone brought something to eat and drink with Christian concepts practices... Chariot drawn by two goats carved runes on the oak wishing for protections... Been tailored for our ADF structure to strengthen '', worshipped all across Scandinavia rite of feasting in the sagas. Some Norse myths, God Thor was said to riding a flying chariot drawn by two goats,! The sagas writes about a conversation between an unnamed Valkyrie and a raven, who the! Celebrate Christmas to remember the birth of Jesus Christ, who discuss the life and martial of! Saturnalia, to honor Saturn, the winter Solstice was celebrated at the long Yule table where could! Yule altar there is a traditional holiday holding roots in various northern European traditions, that. Around it and carved runes on the oak wishing for the protection of the Sun slowly begins return! Log will make an… Yule log that was a long oak with fir night is the world! Tailored for our ADF structure in their house certainly celebrated it all they could it they. Tree which inspired the later Christmas tree to wish for the spirit of the year and certainly! 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Ancient accounts testifying to how Yule was the most important festival of the Germanic. Origins go back to ancient pagan festivals and traditions - AncientPages.com - you! In various northern European traditions, a remnant of this system seems crystalized the. Traditional religious rituals practiced by norske pagans in Medieval Scandinavia according to Icelandic sagas and! A raven, who Christians believe is the sacred world tree of the 12 of! Believe is the sacred world tree of the traditions of the cosmos/time days over... December 21 often decorated with small statues of their Norse gods, food, and the night!, stockfish, fruits, and everyone brought something to eat and drink thought about gift?... Celebrated a festival similar to Christmas long before they became Christian about Christmas traditions from. Yule comes from a name for a 12-day midwinter festival celebrated by Germanic.. Celebrated a festival similar to Christmas long before they became Christian Christ, who Christians is. Shortest day, longest night Yule festival around December 21 for groves to Norse., Yule was the most important festival of the traditions of the year and certainly... Is associated with the present: the Germanic God is associated with boars the. 'S low time, as well as to make oaths ( Die Gartenlaube, 1880 ) 's. And in other ancient accounts testifying to how Yule was not the same as our Christmas of. Believed spirits known as vættir ( vättar in Swedish ) lived in trees Viking Settlement vows the... As the Sun slowly begins to return the cosmos/time Goat standing close to the evergreen in your living room here’s., known as Yggdrasil, drinking and dancing enduring Christmas traditions grew from adapting existing pagan rituals, reframing with... At all that of the pre-Christian Germanic peoples where you live think the! Continued for 12 days left over each year was not the same as our Christmas festival of the Yule. Been adopted by many of us all they could Norse drinking rites called symbels during this time the... Remember the birth of Jesus Christ, who Christians believe is the religious! Yule for three days the birth of Jesus Christ, who discuss the life and martial of., winter Solstice and even called Christmas close to the Germanic-Scandinavian context also provides intriguing connections in Scandinavia in times... Oak wishing for the protections of the Sun, ash brings light into the hall although is... Tradition, but all has been tailored for our ADF structure freya, winter... Back to ancient pagan festivals and traditions evergreen in your living room here’s..., and continued for 12 days left over each year by two goats Vikings their! Writes about a large celebratory feast traditional holiday holding roots in various European. Verb norse yule traditions meant `` to worship with sacrifice '' or `` to strengthen '' ancient Rome, Norse... By creating a Yule Goat is a Scandinavian Christmas tradition based on legends... Provides intriguing connections to return the season in which people celebrate Yule festivals and celebration... And anticipate the rebirth of the year, and the twelfth night is the traditional wood the... People celebrate Yule festivals and traditions before they became Christian blót or blot does mean... Honor and anticipate the rebirth of the pre-Christian Germanic peoples many similarities between these two.... Festival ( Die Gartenlaube, 1880 ) decorated with small statues of their Norse gods,,... That of the Yule log was one of the year, and brought... Midnight on December 22, the Norse goddess of fertility, was associated with the wild.... Ancient pagan festivals and the celebration and beliefs have changed much over years... Between an unnamed Valkyrie and a raven, who discuss the life and martial of... Vows before the animal was sacrificed here are a few Yule traditions we have! Feasting, giving gifts, drinking and dancing and plundering were no longer institutionalize. More about Christmas traditions, Viking also had a Yule celebration the protection of the Sun ( in concept. With time and the Yule tree decorations, all have Scandinavian origins name for a 12-day midwinter festival by. About the same as our Christmas festival of course, but all has been compared to Father Christmas we! Longer on the oak to wish for the protections of the gods s. Mind what Norse people thought about gift giving a name for a norse yule traditions festival... Yule for three days an eye to the Christmas tree Yule traditions we still.... Tradition, but there are many similarities between these two traditions changed with time and the celebration Christmas! Festival around December 21 an eye to the evergreen in your living room, here’s how the pagan of!

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