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Yule Traditions and Customs

Yule has a long-standing history, from back in the days of Mithras, through the Nordic tribes, and among a number of other cultures. Learn about the meanings, symbolsm, folklore, and traditions of this winter celebration that is observed all over the world.

Yule Traditions and Customs
Yule has a long-standing history, from back in the days of Mithras, through the Nordic tribes, and among a number of other cultures. Here are some of the time-honored traditions of this winter celebration that is observed all over the world.

Winter Customs Around the World
Did you know that in Greece, fresh basil is attached to a wooden cross, or why the Scots want a dark-haired visitor on New Year's Day? The winter holidays are celebrated in a number of ways in different countries -- learn about customs and festivals from around the globe.

Ten Christmas Customs with Pagan Roots
Did you know that many Christmas customs can trace their roots back to Pagan origins? Here are ten little-known bits of trivia about the Yule season that you might be unaware of.

The Legend of the Holly King and the Oak King
In modern Paganism and Wicca, one of the most popular legends is that of the Oak and Holly Kings. These two archetypes battle as the Wheel of the Year turns, and at Yule, one must relinquish his crown.

Io, Saturnalia!
The ancient Romans had a festival for just about everything, and the winter solstice was no exception. The week-long celebration of Saturnalia was a time of great partying, debauchery, and general revelry.

Mistletoe: Myths, Mysteries and Medicine
Although Julius Caesar attributed the use of mistletoe in ritual to the Druids, it has also been traced back to the Greek winter ceremonies. Learn what it is about this little green parasite -- yes, it's a parasite! -- that makes it so special!

The Origins of Santa Claus
There's a great song by the band Emerald Rose called "Santa Claus is Pagan Too", and that's not a bad way of looking at him. The jolly old elf may be a Christmas mainstay, but his origins are a blend of early Christian figures and Norse deities.

Hogmanay: Scotland's Winter Celebration
In Scotland, the festival of Hogmanay is even more important than Christmas. Evolved from the Pagan celebrations of Yule, Hogmanay is observed at the end of December, just before the New Year.

Go a-Wassailing For Yule!
In England, it was traditional for people to visit from house to house, singing songs, much like Christmas Carolers do today. As a reward for their songs, they'd be given a cup of wassail. Start a new family ritual, and go out a-wassailing with these traditional songs for Yule!

Chocolate Santas
Everyone loves Santa, and everyone loves chocolate... but why on earth do we eat chocolate Santas at Yule time? Who came up with that idea, anyway?

The Legend of Mithras
Christianity hardly has a monopoly on the theme of resurrection, particularly around the winter holidays. Mithras was an early Roman god of the sun, who was born around the time of the winter solstice and then experienced a resurrection around the spring equinox.

The Legend of Frau Holle
Frau Holle appears in many guises in Scandinavian mythology. Learn about the origins -- and different interpretations -- of this goddess who makes her appearance around Yule each year.

What is Krampusnacht?
December 6 is the day in which parts of Germany and Bavaria celebrate Krampusnacht, which is a throwback to a pre-Christian tradition. The word Krampus means "claw", and apparently certain Alpine villiages have big parties featuring a scary clawed incubus who hangs around with Santa Claus.

The Standing Stones of the Orkney Islands
There's a magical legend about the standing stones of the Orkney Islands. They do something mystical and amazing during the Yuletide season!

The Legend of La Befana
According to Italian legend, La Befana is a kindly witch who flies around delivering gifts. But why is a witch associated with the Catholic festival of the Epiphany?

Songs for Your Yule Playlist
Looking for some Pagan themed songs for your Yule celebration's playlist? Here is a list of our favorite Yule songs to enjoy during the winter solstice season.

Ten Things to Hang on a Pagan Holiday Tree
Are you a Pagan who has a holiday tree? Celebrate the Yule season with ten great items to hang on a Pagan holiday tree!

Festivus: Not a Pagan Celebration at All
A reader wants to know if Festivus is an ancient Pagan celebration. It's not. Learn about what Festivus really is, and where it comes from.

The Lord of Misrule
During England's medieval and early Tudor period, a character appeared to oversee Christmas revelry. Who was the Lord of Misrule, and what are his origins?

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