Origins of Mid-Winter Celebrations
Some Traditions and The Nature Religions
Saturnalia and The Feast of Fools
Bells, Candles, and The Festival of Lights
My Christmas Links Page
||People have celebrated a "mid-winter" festival
for thousands of years. The festivities of feasting, fires and ritual
offerings marked the beginning of the return of the sun and longer hours of
daylight occurring in the present month of mid December. The festivals were
called by many names including the Winter Solstice,
Yule, Christmas, and
Saturnalia. The Germanic tribes of Northern
Europe also celebrated mid-winter with feasting, drinking and pagan rituals.
Although it is thought that Jesus of Nazareth was born in Springtime,
December 25th was chosen for the celebration of his birth by Pope Julius I,
in the 4th century in order to promote a Christian element in the
long-established mid-winter festivals celebrating the birth of the new Solar
year and the beginning of Winter. The Goddess manifests as the Great Mother
and the God as the Sun Child, who became Jesus in the Christian religion.
The God also appears as Santa Claus and Old Man Winter and became St.
Nicholas for Catholics.
The celebrations are a festival of inner renewal. They strengthen bonds
with family and friends by visiting and/or exchanging gifts and greetings.
We decorate our homes with lights, greens,
and festival colors which are Red, Green, and White. They bring blessings on
our homes with a Yule log on the fire,
sprigs of mistletoe inside, and a
evergreen wreath on the front door,
symbolic of enduring and renewed life. We place sunflower seeds outside for
wild birds to feast upon and greet the Sun at dawn on Solstice morning by
ringing bells. Communities take up a
collection of food and/or clothing during the celebrations and distribute
what is collected to the needy.
As you celebrate this holiday season with friends and relatives, enjoy
the Christmas traditions and the ancient rituals and legends associated with
Return of the Sun
'Deck the Halls'