Yuletide and the Real Reason for the Season

Yule is an ancient Germanic midwinter celebration better known today by the name Christmas.  Being associated with the winter solstice, Yule is traditionally a twelve-day festival centered near the days of December 21st.  Although Yule is a holiday of Germanic origin, the traditions and symbolism associated with it have been absorbed by the Christmas holiday and practiced in variations throughout the world.  Similarly the Romans celebrated the Saturnalia: a festival of great significance on December 25th, the date that was adopted as the official date for Christmas.  Due to Christianization, these similar holidays are now united throughout most of Western society as Christmas, but many of the traditions associated with it are of pre-Christian, and Heathen origin. (Read More)

Wassail: Drink Recipes

Originating in the southwestern counties of England,

 

Here We Come A-Wassailing; The Roots of a Christmas Tradition

It’s not Christmas without Christmas carols.  Many of our most traditional carols are filled with lyrics and lines that leave the modern caroler bewildered.  One of my favorite holiday tunes is “Here We Come A-Wassailing,” also commonly known as “Here We Come A-Caroling.”  Just what is wassailing?  Is it just an archaic word for Christmas caroling?  Actually no, it isn’t.  While the two terms have become generally accepted as interchangeable, caroling is just one aspect of a much deeper and more profound tradition of wassailing.

Eight Christmas Characters Most Americans Don’t Know

Santa Claus is the American face of the Christmas season popularized most heavily by the poem ‘Twas the Night before Christmas which essentially codified the Santa tradition.  He is based heavily off of the earlier European models Sinterklaas, Father Christmas, Old Man Winter, and of course St. Nicolas.  The poem took these old world variations and developed the jolly old elf we know and love today, complete with his sleigh and eight reindeer.  Rudolf would have to wait until much later to be introduced to the mythology.  But throughout Europe there is a broad range of Christmas characters less familiar to Americans who reveal the richness of this holiday tradition.  Here are eight Christmas characters most Americans don’t know.