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2061The Oldest known Winter Festival

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  • katsscan
    Dec 20, 2013
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                  "Happy  Yuletide"  Winter Solstice - 12-21
      The Oldest celebrated Winter Festival
      Yuletide, the  original Winter Festival -  later turned into 'Christmas.'

      For our pre-Christian ancestors, the mid-Winter festivals and rituals ran from three days to almost three weeks - Jul became Yule, but the generally accepted beginning of the feasting and ceremonies commenced with the Winter Solstice - the shortest day...marked on the modern calendar...December 21st.
      The ancient 'Yule' tree' (symbol of the ancient 'Tree of Life', also later became called the 'Christmas' tree).
       
      The English word Yule is thought to derive from the Old Norse word 'Jol' or 'Tul' which became the Old English word 'Hweol' or 'Geol' - or wheel - the turning of the year. The Sun in Winter is at its lowest point from where it starts...and climbs into the New Year.

      The...Winter celebrations were a much older tradition and had...their roots in the belief of the Celts, where winter began with the festival of Samhain (modern Halloween) at the end  of the modern month of October/ the beginning of modern November when Autumn ends.
       
      For the Celtic...peoples, the Winter was a special time, a season of short days, extended darkness, cold weather, and Nature slept.  So too amongst the Slavic peoples, especially along the Baltic coastlands, there were ceremonies and rituals which were very close in custom to those of their Germanic and Celtic neighbours-cousins.
       
      The observation of the Winter celebration was from a much older tradition and had its roots in the belief systems of the Neolithic peoples ('Makenyans') - the builders of Stonehenge, New Grange and other stone circles and standing stones.

      A common thread to all the Winter rituals was the Winter solstice, the appearance of the Sun and the Moon in the mid-Winter skies;  stars, sacred trees, ever-green boughs like Holly and Mistletoe, fires, feasting and the giving of gifts.  In some regions the village shaman or soothsayer would dress up as the hooded figure of Odin (Wotan) and distribute gifts to the children...
       
      In the 20th Century, Folkish movements in Britain and Europe sought to revive and restore many of the pre-Christian era ceremonies and festivals with all the related trappings and rituals..
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