Ancient Pagan Festival, the Winter Solstice is celebrated in Northern countries of Europe on the 21st of December. Starting the next morning at sunrise, the sun climbs just a little higher and stays a little longer in the sky each day. On this Solstice Night, the longest of the year, our ancestors celebrated the rebirth of the Oak King, the Sun King, the Giver of Life that warmed the frozen Earth. From this day forward, the days would become longer.
Width: 12 cm
Height: 18 cm
Weight: 24 g
Material: Paper x weight
Greeting Card representing an original acrylic painting by Elena Danaan
On this longestof the year, 20th to 21st of December, our ancestors celebrated the rebirth of the Oak King, the Sun King, the Giver of Life who warmed the frozen Earth. From this day forward, the days would become longer. In the ancient traditions, two sacred trees were sharing the rulershipand care of the year: the young Oak was seating on the throne of the year at the Summer Solstice, and when old and tired, passing on his crown to the young Holly at the time of the Winter solstice. Bonfires were lit in the fields, children were escorted from house to house with gifts of clove spiked apples and oranges laid in baskets of evergreen boughs and wheat stalks dusted with flour. The apples and oranges represented the sun, and the boughs were symbol of immortality (evergreens were sacred to the Celts because they did not "die" thereby representing the eternal aspect of the Divine). The wheat stalks portrayed the harvest, and the flour was accomplishment of triumph, light, and life. Holly and ivy not only decorated the outside, but also the inside of homes, in hopes good nature spirits would come and join the celebration. A sprig of Holly was kept near the door all year long as a constant invitation for good fortune. Mistletoe was also hung asdecoration. It represented the seed of the Divine, and at Midwinter, the Druids would travel deep into the forest to harvest it. The ceremonial Yule log was the highlight of the Solstice festival. In accordance to tradition, the log must either have been harvested from the householder's land, or given as a gift. It must never have been bought. Once dragged into the house and placed in the fireplace it was decorated in seasonal greenery, doused with cider or ale, and dusted with flour before set ablaze by a piece of last year’s log. The log would burn throughout the night, then smoulder for 12 days after before being ceremonially put out. Many customs created around Yule are identified with Christmas today. If you decorate your home with a Yule tree, holly or candles, you are following some of these old traditions.