Happy Holidays everyone! There are people all around the world celebrating different holidays this time of year. We all know Christmas of course, but then there is Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Wasalia, Newtonmas, Ramadan, and Yule to name a few.
Most of the Holidays are celebrated on December 21st or the 25th, or some go on for multiple days such as Hanukkah. Do you know why all these celebrations and holiday traditions are celebrated in December? You might think you know, but you might have it all wrong. Now I’m mainly going to focus on Christmas as it is the most commonly celebrated in North America.
You might automatically think of Harry Potter when you hear the word “Yule,” but Yule is a holiday celebrated by many and has actually been the biggest influencer in many of the most common holiday traditions.
I celebrated Christmas with my family as a Catholic growing up, this season I celebrated Yule as my main holiday. Yule is a pagan holiday. I started practicing Wicca about two years ago, so this year was my second time celebrating Yule.
Yule is the winter solstice, the longest night of the year. It takes place on December 21st. It celebrates The Birth of The Sun God, which is most likely where the birth of Jesus came from for the idea of Christmas.
When early Christians came to areas with paganism as its main spirituality they were dead set on converting everyone from their pagan ways. There are many holidays in the pagan calendar and they were a big part of the culture. So to try to make these holidays fit with Christianity, they took them and made their own story to go along with the day.
Since then, the original holidays have been lost and no one really knows the true origins of our beloved holidays.
“Christ’s mass” is never mentioned in the Bible, nor any other holidays. Our traditions all have pagan roots. Christmas trees originated from pagans decorating their homes with holly and evergreen on the winter solstice to symbolize fertility and new life in the dead of winter. Santa Clause originated from Odin. Odin flew through the sky on his eight-legged steed and brought gifts to everyone by slipping down chimneys where children would leave their boots filled with hay for his steed by the fireplace. Throughout the years he ended up becoming the Santa Clause as we know and love him today.
I went to my first Yule ritual last year and was surprised to hear many familiar tunes but with different lyrics to fit Wiccan beliefs. I was really excited about these songs having new meaning in them in a way I had not heard before. A meaning that I actually connected within a whole new way.
I mentioned it to a family member, all of which are very conservative and strict Christians. I am the first and only one to walk away from my family’s shared religious views. When I mentioned it, this family member was really upset about how we “stole” these traditionally Christian songs and created lyrics to fit our own belief system. I wanted to laugh. I mean, those songs would not even exist without pagans in the first place. Christmas as we know it would not exist if people were not so full of themselves to force a new religion on pagans. We have every right to take back these songs and make them our own again. Honestly, a few song lyrics changed is hardly as bad as an entire holiday being warped to fit their motives. Not to mention how they have managed to warp the views of thousands of people to think paganism is devil worship and evil.
It makes me sad to see the old traditions and their true meaning lost within the Christian agenda. These days, paganism is so sadly misinterpreted by everyone purely from the stories old Christians made of pagans circling around a tree as they are about to sacrifice a baby. It is made out to be this horrible religion when really it is the complete opposite. Wicca and other such pagan beliefs center around one main thing. Do no harm. That means to people, animals, the earth, ourselves and everything in existence.
We have forgotten where we have come from and there is so much fear that keeps people from opening up their minds and hearts to learn the truth. These holiday traditions come from people who celebrated life as no other has. They celebrated individuality, self-exploration, curiosity and choosing your own path. They celebrated how amazing life is when we vow to help rather than hurt. To be free rather than stifle, to explore our own reality for ourselves instead of letting others tell us what to believe.
Do not buy into what you are told is the truth. You choose what to believe in. You need to question the world around you and ask yourself what you feel is right, not what is right.
We need to take back the true reason for the season. Celebrating life in its purest most natural form, free of limits and ideas. Just like the evergreen that lives through the harsh bitter winter while everything else dies. It is not the softest tree with its sharp needles, but through all and adversity it remains strong and full of vitality.
Just as Odin flies through the sky and strikes down those who are out in the dark, yet leaves presents for the innocent children offering a helping hand. Just as our voices rise in harmony to show how alive we are as we celebrate another year gone by and how we still live through even though it is bitter, cold and desolate outside.
As we celebrate this season remember: there is no person who is the reason for the season; the reason for the season is life coming from adversity; a beautiful plant blooming in spite of the dead winter; Jesus is not the reason for the season, life is and always will be and; let us take back the true meaning of the holiday season and celebrate it as it was meant to be.