It has come upon us once again ~ December then end of another year! I hear you cry how there was still so much you wanted to do and have run out of time. For some of you this year you may have celebrated some major events and some mourned great losses however, this is another year that you have added to your journey.
December 21st is a great celebration for me as a Wiccan. It is the Winter Solstice and also what is known as Yule. This is the shortest day of the year with indeed the longest night. I know for many this is a tough time of the year with all the cold and the darkness however, we are supposed to take this time to rest and go within to look over the year passed and choose our next journeys the year coming. It also brings me some solace to know that the wheel is turning once in again in favour of longer days!
Yule is the festival that celebrates the beginning of winters end. In Pagan belief they celebrate the birth of the goddess son known as the star child who will become the sun God during Mabon. Wicca see the battle between the Holly and Oak Kings in which the Oak King prevails.
Christianity in its early years was having trouble with converting the Pagans to their thoughts of God and creation. Many of the Christian celebrations are stem from Pagan celebrations. They celebrated the birth of Jesus on the 25th December.
Many religions and faiths do have a common theme around this time of year which is the celebration of light. Hence the adornment of trees, lighting of candles, and gatherings around fires.
The gathering of trees and creation of wreaths began as a Pagan tradition as they believed this gave them protection over the winter months. The yule log which today is a yummy chocolate cake was originally from the oak tree and was chosen for its long burning capacity and its intense heat. The branches of the oak were kept for good luck. Red candles were used to represent the fire and hearth of old. These candles developed into the Christmas decorations that we know today.
This is the history as I know it as a Wiccan who was born in England and baptised as a Christian, surrounded by Paganism as well Christianity, I am always intrigued how the religions of the world have adapted each others symbols and traditions. Please know that I have shared my own knowledge and I am always willing to learn more. If you see any similarities through your cultural or religious eyes please share here in the comments so I may learn more.
Above all, whatever your religious beliefs are during the month of December please remember to share love and light to all who surround you and have gratitude for all that you have.