Yule has been around a long time (before 900) and words used to describe it have been too. There are the Old English words ġéol or ġéohol and ġéola or ġéoli, the former a 12-day festival of Yule. This probably morphed into the word yoole around 1450. Yule has also been linked to the Old Norse jól. The word may have originally meant “magic” or “feast of entreaty”. It is also perhaps the root of the English word “jolly.” The noun Yuletide is first attested from around 1475.
Yule was an indigenous midwinter festival celebrated by the Germanic peoples. The earliest references to it are in the form of month names, where the Yule-tide period lasts around two months.
Traditions and Customs:
- bonfires to light up the night
- crops and trees were wassailed*
- pomanders made by sticking cloves into apples and oranges, as symbols of the sun
- evergreen boughs, holly, and ivy decorated the home, representing life*
- the Yule log was burned*
*learn more about these customs on our Christmas Past article.
Herbs and flowers: bayberry, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, sage, evergreen, ivy, holly, laurel, mistletoe, oak, pine, yellow cedar, pine cones, frankincense, myrrh, wintergreen, apple leaf, and dried apple
Incense: bayberry, pine, spruce, pine, cedar, and cinnamon
Colors: red, green, white, gold, and silver
Gemstones: alexandrite, bloodstone, ruby, garnet, emerald, diamonds, and kunzite
Decorations: holly, mistletoe, ivy, pine, pine cones, Yule Log, evergreen wreaths, and evergreen garlands
Foods: cookies, cakes, cakes, nuts, cider, and wassail
Use the navigation area on the left to find crafts and recipes for Yule. And visit the Christmas portal for more crafts and recipes.
Yule Products from Zazzle
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image courtesy of Silar, Wikimedia.org