For today’s short post, as it is Yule, the Winter Solstice, I have decided to talk about the holiday. In particular I want to talk about the pagan traditions that were later adopted by Christianity for Christmas!
The obvious one is the Christmas Tree. This began with pagans bringing in evergreens to help bless the home during the cold winter months, as it was a tree that never went dormant during the dark half of the year! Other traditions that started with pagans include mistletoe, candles, feasting, gift giving, and the focus on light! These all began with pagan beliefs and were adopted into Christianity, likely in part to keep people who had been pagan from rejecting Christian beliefs entirely.
It was very common for Christianity to adopt pagan customs into their own religious practices in an attempt to help ease the transition between paganism and Christianity. Although it must also be noted that Jesus was actually born in the Spring. So they even moved the celebration of his birth to coincide with the pagan rites of the Winter Solstice! Some have said that the time Christmas is celebrated would be when the wise men finally arrived. This would make some sense, but I doubt that was the real reason, given how much is changed to coincide with pagan practices!
I hope that this short post has inspired you to look a little deeper into the true origins of holiday traditions. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below! Once again I hope that all of my Lovely readers have a very blessed Yule!
- Yule: Rituals Recipes & Lore for the Winter Solstice by Susan Pesznecker