Today I'm posting my addition to the Witches Yuletide Ball. You may have noticed a little badge about the event on the side of my blog this month. I signed up to write a Yule themed post on December 10th, without knowing much about Yule. I only associated the holiday with the Yule Log and Christmas. After doing some research, I learned that Yule is an ancient Pagan holiday. From what I found, there have been mentions of the holiday dating back to the 4th century.
Yule is also known as the winter solstice in the northern hemisphere and the summer solstice in the southern hemisphere due to the seasonal differences. This year's winter solstice occurs on December 21st. The nights leading up to the solstice are longer and the days shorter. After the solstice, the nights will get shorter and we'll see more light throughout the day. Just wait a little over a week, and things will look up. I look forward to days where the sun doesn't set around 4:30 PM!
Speaking of the solstice, I have some neat trivia about Stonehenge. Some of you may know this already, but Stonehenge was built so that the sun will always set between two of the stones on the winter solstice. It will set in such a way that the stones resemble a portal filled with glowing light. I ran across a video that's really worth watching. Someone has staged a replica of how Stonehenge looked 4,000 years ago, to show how the solstice sun would have interacted with it.
Stonehenge is such a mystery. The thought of humans being able to move and lift these stones without modern machinery is astounding enough, but the thought of them aligning these stones to perfectly fit the sun on certain days of the year blows my mind!
I found quite a few videos of the solstice celebrations at Stonehenge from previous years. I'm sure there will be more celebrations this year. From what I saw, there's a drum circle, dancing, and a poetry reading. If you can't make it over to Britain, here's at taste of what will be happening:
From what I read, the guy in the crown is supposed to be King Arthur.
Yule or winter solstice is still celebrated today. I have some Wiccan friends who celebrate the winter solstice, but I don't know much about their traditions. I do know that many of the modern Christmas traditions stem from Yule. The Yule log, tree, holly, and candles originate from early Yule celebrations. If you want to learn more about the first Yule traditions, I found an excellent web site:
The Winter Solstice ~ Yule Lore
The Yule Wikipedia page also goes into depth about how ancient Yule celebrations varied by country and culture:
Yule Wikipedia Page
There are plenty of other bloggers taking part in The Yuletide Gathering today! Here's a list of them all. I hope this list of links doesn't look too funky on your computer screens. Let me know if I need to rearrange the names. Also, let me know if you wrote a Yule themed post today and aren't listed here. I'll make sure to add you to the list!
Also, I should mention that the 13 days of Creepmas is going on! Creepmas is Christmas with a creepy twist. I was so busy that I barely got my Yule post up, so I wasn't able to participate in Creepmas. Lots of my blog friends did, though. They've put together some pretty entertaining posts so far! The Creepmas blog is here:
If you look at the column of "participating creeps" on the right, you'll be able to read some of these great posts!
I'll leave you with the perfect song for winter solstice:
Just think of this song when you're feeling cold this winter. With every day after December 21st, the sun stays with us a little longer!