Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Ending OF Yuletide.

Tomorrow marks the end of the Yuletide tradition, twelve days of Christmas.

In England, the Christmas decorations are left in place until the 6th day of January, and since old habits are hard to break, the decorations around our house, are still in place.

Yule is the period traditionally celebrated between late December and the end of January, marking Winter on the "Wheel of the Year". It is also one of the names given to the Winter Solstice, which falls on or around the 21st December each year.
For Pagans, Yule is their traditional festival to mark this time of the year. On the darkest, longest night, that of Winter Solstice, communities of old gathered around the Yule log to celebrate the birth of the son of the Goddess, The Mabon.

Known as the Star Child, this son would become the Sun God, representing the return of Light, and within a few days the nights would begin to shorten.

Christianity later chose the 25th December to mark the birthday of Jesus Christ, placing it in line with the Pagan Winter Solstice. Before the coming of Christianity, the wise men and women of the community would have announced that the festive magical workings had brought about a return of the Light. This magic would have involved decorating homes, sharing gifts, lighting bonfires, and giving offerings to the gods, such as red berries and seasonal greenery.
To celebrate the returning of Light, folk would bring out their stored food and enjoy cheerful festivities. Even in times of poor harvest, the Star Child would have inspired whatever celebrations were possible.
Dances, special songs and the decorating of houses and trees would all take place up until what is now known as Twelfth Night, where the Yuletide feast was brought to an end with a final day of merriment and activities.

Since we are predicted to receive three to five inches of snow in the next two days, I think the decorations will be snugly in place for the next week or so.

That's OK with me, I like the look of twinkling fairy lights in the glistening snow.

Info credit: Wikipedia


PurestGreen said...

What a lovely little post - great photos and stories about the history of Yule. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Michelloui said...

Lovely post and photos! I knew some of this but not all. Its fascinating isnt it? My decorations are all down now (in the UK) but its hard to let go when the snow starts falling again in Jan, isnt it? Right now we're getting a lot of snow, my daughter is home from school and Im kind of sad the decos are all gone!

Midwest to Midlands said...

I was going to start taking the Christmas decor down after Christmas, but was told by the English :) no it must stay up until the 12th day, which is today. Also purely by coincidence since I was too lazy to do it sooner, the decorations are being packed away today. We have snow, 4 inches, but the sun is shining. Safe travels in the Tennessee snow.

Sunny said...

Saying goodbye to Christmas is like parting with an old friend. Your pictures are lovely, Jo. I love the tree in the bucket.
Sunny :)

matron said...

Love the christmas tree,I also am a fan of fairy lights twinkling on the tree in the evening with the lights dimmed for that magical christmasy feeling.
My daughter had a huge tree decorated with baubles collected as souveners and special gifts that have memories attached,it looked spectacular.Had a lovely holiday and enjoyed my grand daughters so much as I do not see them very often,living so far away.
Best wishes for the new year.

Patsy said...

To day is also a Christian feast day. We are to get snow next two days. It's just to cold for the South.

Anonymous said...

yes put the kettle on. I am in central Kentucky and expecting the same snow as you. Found you on a blog I cannot remember because that was 2 minutes ago. Love your pictures and post. I also observe the 12 days of Christmas since I can't stand to get all the pretty things go back into storage. Pop over and we will compare notes tomorrow. Blessings

Jacque said...

I just discovered your blog today on All Things Cottage, and I am so happy that I did! What gorgeous photos. I have been to England a number of times, but not in 10 years, and I miss it. I also think Tennessee is a beautiful place, as is Kentucky, where I was born. I live in Missouri in an antebellum home, and really enjoy it.
I am looking forward to reading your blog and I also shared it with some friends in England.

cheshire wife said...

I love your photos. Are they yours or do you borrow them from somewhere?

Anonymous said...

That's a great explanation. We've just taken our tree and decorations down - the living room looks too bare :(

Carol said...

Beautiful post. My big tree is still up :) The rest of our decorations are slowly making their way to the kitchen to be boxed up.
Happy New Year to you.

Winifred said...

I'm a traditionalist too. My decorations come down tonight. I hate taking the tree down, the place looks so bare. I could happily leave those lights on all year round.

Betsy Banks Adams said...

We just took our decorations down also. We celebrate through Jan. 5... Today is Epiphany---and I have been humming "We Three Kings" all day long!!!!

Hope we do get some snow... But--every time they predict it (like they are now), we don't usually get much. SO--we'll just have to wait and see. I'm very skeptical...

Stay WARM.

L. D. said...

Thank you for sharing in your blog. You always put out such a great quality product. Your photos are wonderful and what you have to say is always great. We are receiving the snow that you have falling on your blog right now. Have a great new year.

George said...

Our Christmas decorations come down on Epiphany as well, but they weren't nearly as elegant as yours. You have very beautiful Christmas decorations.