Yule: Celebrating the Return of the Sun and the Winter Solstice

Yule, or the winter solstice, takes place on the longest and darkest night of the year. This festival celebrates the birth of the sun, warmth and the return of the growing season. Each day after Yule the sunlight continually grows a little brighter and stronger. In Pagan tradition, the goddess gives birth to the Sun God, or the Oak King, and with the birth of the solstice sun, the light is reborn. Yule takes place on December 21st, or the winter solstice, of every year.

Yule: Celebrating the Return of the Sun and the Winter Solstice by livingbewitchingly.com

This is a time for rebirth and renewal of goals, and to leave old regrets behind. Yule is a holiday focused on coping with the darkness, by giving thanks for the return of the sun. 

Joyous Yule and Merry Christmas from livingbewitchingly.com

As many of us have become disenchanted by shallow consumerism as the focus of the holiday season, we seek to find the magic that has been lost. Celebrating based on ancient traditions which connected people with nature and in tune with the winter season will help us to find balance and connect to a higher energy. It is a rebirth of the old ways, and thus, a rebirth of our spirit. 

Yule: Celebrating the Return of the Sun and the Winter Solstice by livingbewitchingly.com

Christmas originated from Yule traditions

Christmas has its origins in Pagan Yule ancient traditions. The burning of the Yule log, clove spiked fruit, Christmas caroling, decorating of Christmas trees, hanging of boughs of holly, and mistletoe all originated in northern European pagan celebrations from ancient times. Today people of northern European countries, both Christians and Pagans, still celebrate Yule.

Yule: Celebrating the Return of the Sun and the Winter Solstice by livingbewitchingly.com

Symbolism of Yule Trees

Times were much harder for the ancient people, who feared their ability to survive through the foreboding darkness and freezing temperatures during the winter. Many of the traditions included decorations that would protect people and their home, both literally by providing warmth and light, as well as symbolically. Evergreen trees were considered to have eternal life, because unlike other deciduous trees and crops, they remain green in the winter. These magical trees were cut down and brought indoors during the winter solstice. Yule logs were burned in fireplaces for warmth and candles were placed on the trees to symbolize the manifestation of the light. Clove-spiked oranges were hung for their delightful scent and to symbolize the sun.


Yule: Celebrating the Return of the Sun and the Winter Solstice by livingbewitchingly.com

Yule Activities

By participating in seasonal activities you become active in savoring the moment, and celebrating nature. Yule activities include acts representing the spirit of giving and the renewal that this holiday represents.

  • A popular custom of the ancients was to go wassailing from door to door, drinking and singing to the health of neighbors.
  • Traditionally Yule logs of oak were burned with the previous year’s remains to guard the house against lightning and fire. A simpler version of this is to place three candles into a small oak log for a table centerpiece.
  • Decorate your Yule tree with dried fruits, cinnamon sticks, popcorn garland, clove studded apples, oranges, lemons, nuts and cookies.
  • Fill bird feeders so birds have food for the winter .
  • Since Yule represents a time of rebirth, think of activities that will help you to start new and leave the old behind. With the rebirth of the sun, comes rebirth of ideas, thoughts and behaviors. This is a good time to perform a cleansing, meditate, and reflect on things you want to change in your life.
  • Go through your home and collect food and clothing to donate, or collect items to donate to your local Goodwill or homeless shelters. Volunteer at a local shelter or food drive.
Yule - livingbewitchingly.com

This is an awesome cider spice kit to use for serving at the holidays or to give as gifts! You can mull cider, juice or wine.

Old  English Cider Wassail – Mulling Spices Kit

Old English wassail spice blend created from 1,000 year old historic recipe.

Contains: Three Muslin Spice Bags with Drawstring, Cinnamon Sticks, Cut Ginger Pieces, Ground Nutmeg


Yule DecorationsYule log, small Yule log with 3 candles,evergreen boughs or wreaths, poinsettias, clove studded fruit, evergreen trees with lights, holly, ivy, fir trees, mistletoe, candles

Yule HerbsBayberryoakcedarsagepinefrankincense,evergreen, holly, ivy, laurel, mistletoe

Yule Foods: Spiced cider, mulled wine and teas,cookies, cakes, nuts, fruits, pork or turkey dishes, eggnog

Yule IncensePineCedarbayberrycinnamon

Yule Colors: Red, green, gold, white, silver, yellow, orange


Yule: Celebrating the Return of the Sun and the Winter Solstice by livingbewitchingly.com

Thanks for visiting and Happy Holidays! 

See our “Yule” board on Pinterest! 


Nordic Ware Yule Log Pan

Don’t have a fireplace to burn a Yule log? That’s ok, bake one instead with this awesome aluminum pan! Non-stick (I recommend using a light layer of cooking spray), you can leave it plain or decorate it with icing or sprinkles. How cute is this for Yuletide baking?!

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