Sunday, November 29, 2009

Ancient Christmas Events

This week I'm introducing some old-time Christmas events and would like your opinions about how Christmas has changed over the years. What traditions or rituals do you do that you really enjoy or like and which ones do you dislike? I'd love to hear about them.

The middle of winter has long been a time of celebration around the world. Centuries before the arrival of the man called Jesus, early Europeans celebrated light and birth in the darkest days of winter. Many peoples rejoiced during the winter solstice, when the worst of the winter was behind them and they could look forward to longer days and extended hours of sunlight.

In Scandinavia, the Norse celebrated Yule from December 21, the winter solstice, through January. In recognition of the return of the sun, fathers and sons would bring home large logs, which they would set on fire. The people would feast until the log burned out, which could take as many as 12 days. The Norse believed that each spark from the fire represented a new pig or calf that would be born during the coming year.

The end of December was a perfect time for celebration in most areas of Europe. At that time of year, most cattle were slaughtered so they would not have to be fed during the winter. For many, it was the only time of year when they had a supply of fresh meat. In addition, most wine and beer made during the year was finally fermented and ready for drinking.

In Germany, people honored the pagan god Oden during the mid-winter holiday. Germans were terrified of Oden, as they believed he made nocturnal flights through the sky to observe his people and then decide who would prosper or perish. Because of his presence, many people chose to stay inside.


Houston A.W. Knight said...

Oden - ah this Irish girl isn't afraid of him, no male God brings fear like a few of the warrior Goddess' do. ;-)


Eliza March said...

What a great time of year! Fresh meat, beer and wine, staying inside all huddled together until spring... Okay we won't think about no hot water. Hmm, maybe they had hot springs... Yup I like this. Eliza M.

Julianna Sage said...

Hey, Eliza, I beleive they actually had hot springs in Norway! What a perfect winter, with meat, beer and a natural hot tub!

Houston A.W. Knight said...


I got new eye candy for you to see! I nabbed him from Leontines blog...he's been driving her nuts all week. Come peek!


Cecile said...

This is a wonderful post! Very insightful.
As far as our traditions... I think we started one this year actually. Normally, me and my daughter decorate the tree and put up the decorations while hubby is at the camp (hunting deer). My Mom lives with her father - she takes care of him - and since my grandmother passed away, they do not put up a tree. Well, this year my Mom came over to my house to help with all the decorations and she admitted that she missed it... So, I think from now on... My Mom will come over to help me decorate with daughter. Three generations... =)
Other than that... Watching Charlie Brown Christmas is a MUST!!!! And listening to Christmas music, lol!!! Of course!
I hope you ladies have a great day!

Houston A.W. Knight said...


What's happening? Just thought I'd stop in for a visit!