cynthia_h
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 7500
Joined: Tue May 06, 2008 7:02 pm
Location: El Cerrito, CA

But there are just a few days left to wish people a Happy Solstice, so don't leave that one in the dust! :)

Then...let's see..."Gode Jül!" or whichever language you choose for the ancient practice of the Yule log: as long as the Yule log burned--and it could be several days, as the Yule log was "supported" by many other pieces of wood and was itself quite grand--there was to be no fighting, no feuding. Knives and bladed weapons only used at the table, not even for games (sorry, men, bones and dice will have to do). It was a holiday from spinning (for women, this was a Big Deal) but, obviously, not from cooking or cleaning up! :lol: As in many traditions, the "real" heart of Yule was to see who could outdo whom in terms of hospitality offered (cf. Potlatch). Bits of this information are available here; the rest is from my own independent reading over many years.

Christmas as celebrated in the United States contains strands from these traditions as well as from the better-known Christian faith.

But let's not forget that the earliest Christians, due to the threat of persecution and martyrdom from Imperial Rome, most likely moved their great feast day to late December so that their comings and goings would be masked by the greater commotion of the Saturnalia, a multi-day festival of games and revelry from approx. December 17 to December 23 of the Julian calendar.

In later Imperial Rome (when to be an emperor one needed to be a general, more or less), the cult of Sol Invictus, the "Unconquered Sun," whose day of birth was December 25, was quite strong and even officially endorsed by multiple emperors.

Our Christmas tree descends from a combination of the Germanic Yule log and the tradition of bringing greens indoors in the dead of winter to "deck the halls with boughs of holly," an evergreen in the northerly climates. It was given a more Christian, and thus respectable, reputation during the Reformation, as briefly described here, but considered primarily a Germanic custom until the late 18th and mid-19th centuries.

But, in the Northern Hemisphere, millennia of evidence show that people have carefully observed the position of the Sun as the days grow shorter this time of the year, whether they watch with knowledge or foreboding about such short days and long nights and such cold (traditionally). The gradual warming after the Solstice and the gradual lengthening of the days "proved" that life would continue for another year. This joy spilled over into festivals whose vestiges are now remembered (if at all) during Carnival and May Day/Beltaine, with some underlying layers at Easter.

For me, the question has always been:

Ewes birth their lambs in early spring, by our calendar anywhere from late March to early May. If "shepherds were keeping watch over their flocks by night," it was lambing season. Sheep were in a fold overnight during cold weather to protect them from predators--wolves primarily. But the shepherds wanted to be right there at hand in case a ewe needed assistance with her lamb(s). Thus: Spring.

Also, the Romans were experienced at running an empire. They had been at it since 753 BCE (but the first couple of centuries under the Etruscan kings don't count) by the time Quirinius's census on behalf of Augustus was undertaken. They knew better than to expect people to travel during the rainy, cold, sleety, mucky winter. Spring was a much better travel season; it would provide a **more accurate** count. (And we know how the Romans valued accuracy.)

So why December 25? Unless, of course, the festival was moved very early on.

Regardless, Yule, Solstice, Christmas, or Hanukkah (Festival of Lights based on a historical event), "Happy Holidays" has a bland feeling about it. So...

Gode Jül! :D

Cynthia H.
Sunset Zone 17, USDA Zone 9

DoubleDogFarm
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 6113
Joined: Sun Mar 28, 2010 11:43 pm

ǽrra ġéola / Jól and Happy æftera ġéola to you Cynthia.

Yule is described as celebrated "for a fertile and peaceful season" and consists of a fertility sacrifice.

Eric

User avatar
tomf
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 3233
Joined: Mon May 18, 2009 8:15 am
Location: Oregon

Image
Last edited by tomf on Sat Dec 15, 2012 7:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.

User avatar
tomf
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 3233
Joined: Mon May 18, 2009 8:15 am
Location: Oregon

Image
Image

User avatar
applestar
Mod
Posts: 28237
Joined: Thu May 01, 2008 7:21 pm
Location: Zone 6, NJ (3/M)4/E ~ 10/M

I wish you joy and happiness and wonder experienced with family and friends in whatever celebrations you have during this time of the year. :D

Cynthia's post prompted me to look this up
:arrow: https://www.timeanddate.com/calendar/dec ... stice.html

User avatar
digitS'
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 3588
Joined: Sun Sep 26, 2010 1:10 pm
Location: ID/Wa! border

cynthia_h wrote:. . . "Happy Holidays" has a bland feeling about it. So...

Gode Jül! :D . . .
No Cynthia, I think that what you have shown us in your post is that our holy day traditions are anything but bland! (now, if my post shows up at the top of a 3rd page with everything you have written being replaced by 3 dots! I'm going to come right back here and re-post Cynthia's Gode Jül in total!)

So, Happy Holidays - Cynthia, Tom and Every, Everyone!

Steve
We are each other's harvest; we are each other's business; we are each other's magnitude and bond. ~ Gwendolyn Brooks

User avatar
tomf
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 3233
Joined: Mon May 18, 2009 8:15 am
Location: Oregon

My cats love the wrapping paper.

User avatar
ElizabethB
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 2105
Joined: Sat Nov 24, 2012 12:53 am
Location: Lafayette, LA

You guys and gals crack me up :!: I love this forum. As I laugh over the pictures I have to reflect - I actually know people who "decorate" like that. OMG :!: Talk about "Red Neck".

We visited some friends yesterday. In their front yard they had a blow up. A boat with "hooked on Christmas" on the side. The boat full of packages and Santa with a fishing pole and fish on the hook. I told G that it was perfect - D in a boat full of hot air! Wish I had taken pictures.
Elizabeth - or Your Majesty

Living and growing in Lafayette, La.

When weeding, the best way to make sure you are removing a weed and not a valuable plant is to pull on it. If it comes out of the ground easily, it is a valuable plant. ~Author Unknown

User avatar
tomf
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 3233
Joined: Mon May 18, 2009 8:15 am
Location: Oregon

Image
Image

User avatar
rainbowgardener
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 25279
Joined: Sun Feb 15, 2009 6:04 pm
Location: TN/GA 7b

As long as we are talking about winter holiday traditions, don't forget Diwali. It is the Hindu winter festival in India, shortened from Deepavali, Sanskrit for "a row of lamps." It is a five day celebration for which people clean and decorate their houses, sing special songs, have special food treats and sweets, light lots of little clay lamps every night that burn through the night, give gifts, and gamble with dice or cards. The date of it varies year to year, but usually in November.

I think every culture that lives with cold winters and short dark winter days has had some kind of winter festival with lights and food and cheering people up!

I love to celebrate the Winter Solstice, the return of the light!

Merry Christmas AND Happy Holidays, everyone!
Twitter account I manage for local Sierra Club: https://twitter.com/CherokeeGroupSC Facebook page I manage for them: https://www.facebook.com/groups/65310596576/ Come and find me and lots of great information, inspiration

Charlie MV
Greener Thumb
Posts: 1544
Joined: Thu May 08, 2008 11:48 pm

We read this every year. I though a few quotes might be fun.

"Ebenezer Scrooge: What do you want with me?

Jacob Marley: You will be haunted by three spirits.

Ebenezer Scrooge: I'd rather not. "

User avatar
tomf
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 3233
Joined: Mon May 18, 2009 8:15 am
Location: Oregon

Image

User avatar
tomf
Super Green Thumb
Posts: 3233
Joined: Mon May 18, 2009 8:15 am
Location: Oregon

You Might be a Christmas Redneck if:
-Your grandma's beard is more impressive than Santa's.
-You have a deer stand in your Christmas tree.
-You use the cobwebs in the corners of your house as tinsel for the Christmas tree.
-You really do ask Santa for your two front teeth.
-All your plastic Pink Flamingos yard ornaments have on Santa hats.
-You decorate your tree with fishing lures.
-You leave beer and nuts for Santa, instead of milk and cookies.
-You got more lights on your dually pickup than on your Christmas tree.
-Your outdoor lights are bug zappers.
-You use your Rudolph lawn ornament for bow & arrow practice.
-You have enough cars in the front yard to dress up and name for every reindeer
-If you think The Nutcracker is something you did off the high dive.
-If squirrels still live in your Christmas tree.
-If you have to put an electric fence around your Christmas tree to keep your dog from peeing on it.
-The gift exchange at school pretty much involves you and your cousins.
-Your husband backs his welding truck up to the front yard and runs his cutting torch through the living room window to light the Christmas fire (true story).
-You use Whiteout on the card you get from your mama to give to your girlfriend.
-You have more lights working on the outside of your trailer than you do on the inside.
-You have a tree stand in your yard and a salt lick on your roof.
-Grandma finally gave you her moon shine recipe as a gift for Christmas.
-The cops stake out in front of your house on Christmas morning so they can arrest most of your family in one trip.



Return to “Non-Gardening Related Hoo-ha and Foo”