View Full Version : Yule & Christmas: Origin & Comparisons

Tuesday, December 21st, 2004, 09:59 PM
The European tradition is multiform and manifold, as befits the rich heritage of our people and the complexity of our minds and souls.

by Andrew Huffman


CHRISTMAS ISN'T the only religious celebration this time of year. Yuletide is the choice for some. This celebration is being revived by the Asatru Folk Assembly (AFA). The AFA is one of the many organizations who represent the ancient religious ways of the European people. Asatru literally means “belief in the Gods.” December 20th, or “Mother Night” begins this 12-day celebration of the sun’s yearly renewal known as Yuletide.

A Yule celebration was organized and held by the AFA in Nevada City, California on Sunday, December 19th. This annual celebration is family oriented with Papa Yule himself, along with Herr Drosselmeyer and the Sugar Plum Fairy for the kids. There is a traditional burning of the sun-wheel and the wheat mare; two symbols of the coming Spring.

Christian celebrations, such as Christmas, often fall on dates important to those of Europe’s spiritual religion. Early missionaries attempting to convert Europeans to Christianity are responsible for the “Holiday Replacement” and absorption of some pre-Christian traditions.

Where did the tradition of the “Christmas” tree, wreaths, giving, Santa with his reindeer, and our New Year’s resolutions come from? Yule is the answer. This holiday celebrates the Sun’s winter Solstice which is the 21st of December. This is the darkest day of the year. Sunlight begins to increase once again after this date. The Yule tree came from the central European belief of a “World Tree.” Ancient Europeans used the Yule tree as a symbol of that belief and continue to do so. Thor, who rides a chariot pulled by goats, is responsible for some of the characteristics of Santa Claus.

Frey is considered the main god of the Yule celebration. He represents the Sun’s warming rays along with prosperity and fertility. These qualities are renewed with the winter’s Solstice. On the twelfth night of Yule (December 31st) oaths are sworn on a boar's head, an animal sacred to Frey. New Year’s resolutions came from this tradition.

A decoration unique to Yule is the sun-wheel. It is often confused with Christian or Celtic crosses. It looks like an addition sign surrounded by a circle. This represents the Sun's cycles and changing seasons it brings.

A fine piece of wood is burned during Yule known as the Yule log. If intending to begin this tradition in your own home, remember to save an unburned piece of the log to start next year’s Yule fire.

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2004, 01:55 AM
Nice. Here is a site with lots of information, even though it is a bit out of date (2000, I think). http://home.earthlink.net/~wodensharrow/yule.html

Friday, February 11th, 2005, 12:18 AM
Wtf is Yule? It's spelled "Jul" here in scandinavia :annoysigr here in scandinavia, jul is the exact same thing as christmas of course.

Yeah, maybe Jul/christmas has some christian elements in it, but it's origin is truly heaten. When you're celebreating christmas with eating and drinking you are doing the same thing as the old vikings and medeivel people did at Juletid (christmas time). The vikings "drinked Jul" (drack jul). Jul = wheel (wheel" is spelled "Hjul" in swedish though)

and with "wheel" the vikings meant this...:


...celebrating the sun...like the ancient romes also did.

Saturday, February 12th, 2005, 01:13 PM
Wtf is Yule? It's spelled "Jul" here in scandinavia :annoysigr here in scandinavia, jul is the exact same thing as christmas of course.

Yule is Jul. That is how it is spelled in english speaking countries. The pronounciation of course, is exactly the same.