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Winter Solstice By Any Other Name
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Yule and the New Year
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Alicia Meets Grandmother Autumn: A Children’s Story
Witches Lost in Halloween
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Winter: A Joyous Holiday Season
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A Story For Autumn
Thanksgiving Memories of a Native American Witch
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Imbolg - A Lesson of Positive Change
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A Samhain Selfie
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Beltane -- Holiday Details and History
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Beltaine - Our May Morn
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Holiday: imbolc ...
NOTE: For a complete list of articles related to this chapter... Visit the Main Index FOR this section.
Well, You Don’t Celebrate Christmas...
Article ID: 13723
Age Group: Adult
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Author: Lady Abigail Welcher
Posted: January 3rd. 2010
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I know that the Yuletide behind us and the New Year is closing in fast. But it seems to me that this year more than most I have ran into many people that seem to have a misunderstanding or Pagans and the Yuletide season. Even some within our own traditions have a hard time with this time of year not being sure how to celebrate the season and still stay true to their own and personal holiday beliefs. It seems that we have all heard the statement this time of year; “Well, you don’t celebrate Christmas” as if it were so kind of a declaration of war.
Sometimes people, family, friends say, “Well you don’t celebrate Christmas” as if it is some kind of offensive thing. Making us feel a little like we are stinky cousin George that no one wants to set to close to or have to talk to but have to put up with during the holidays.
The word Christmas comes from the compound of two words: “Christ’s Mass.” No, I don’t celebrate Christmas as the supposed date that Jesus (the son of god) was born to save the world and everyone in it from sin or as my friend says jokingly, ‘Pagans.’
I celebrate Yule; you know that holiday before Christmas. Yule, the middle of winter has long been a time of celebration around the world. Centuries before the arrival of the man called Jesus, early Europeans celebrated light and birth in the darkest days of winter. Many peoples rejoiced during the winter solstice, when the worst of the winter was behind them and they could look forward to longer days and extended hours of sunlight. The people would feast until the log burned out, which could take as many as twelve days. In addition, most wine and beer made during the year was finally fermented and ready for drinking.
What I celebrate is that time of the year when family and friends endeavor to give a little more of themselves to others. That time where positive energy seems to outweigh the negative and even stinky cousin George is invited to dinner.
As a child raised within the Pagan traditions I did not miss out on that magickal time of year some believe within the holiday of Christmas. Actually I enjoyed the season for longer then most. Enjoying Yule with my Great Grandmother and Christmas with my other family. I got gifts at both, had too much food at both, got together with family members I hardly saw at both and laughed and enjoyed both. It was not until I was much older that I was told I was somehow not supposed to enjoy both since I was not Christian and did not celebrate Christmas the way others did.
I have meet Pagans that worry that their children will be somehow ridiculed because they celebrate their holiday ‘Yule’ a few days early then another. That because they don’t celebrate Christmas according to someone else’s beliefs that they will miss out. Believing that they have no rights to enjoy this family time, because they don’t do Christmas. That is simply not true, unless we make it true.
Okay, let me try clear up a few holiday myths about Pagans and the holidays, be it Yule or Christmas.
Holiday Cards: Yes, We send out holiday cards and enjoy receiving holiday cards.
I send out cards for Yule, Seasons Greetings, Yuletide Blessings, Happy Holidays, Peace on Earth and so on. I just don’t send out Christmas Cards with the manger scene on them … O’ and yes we also enjoy receiving cards. Even Christmas cards. Most are sent with the holiday spirit and we all enjoy getting something personal from friends and family. I had a dear friend tell me she didn’t send me a card because I didn’t celebrate Christmas … I laughed and ask her did she notice the cards I sent her, because if you get a card from someone, they probably would enjoy getting some too.
Santa Claus: Yes many Pagans have Santa too.
Our children believe in magick so why wouldn’t we enjoy having an Elf dressed in a red suite, who is all jolly and good, leave our children gifts too? Santa Claus (not so much St. Nicholas) but the one from the 1863 story The Night Before Christmas, with the red suit, pipe, reindeer, sled full of toys from the magick bag who lives at the North Pole. Yes, we have Santa Claus.
Holiday Dinner: Yes, we all enjoy a day or two of feasting.
The whole big holiday dinner with a big roasted turkey, ham or lamb with vegetables and sauces. Eating rich sweet treats and desserts of fruity cakes and nuts until you cant breath and fall asleep watching TV. Yes, we do that too.
Holiday Gifts; Yes, we all like presents.
For myself many of my Pagan friends and family have a big Yule party and gift exchange on Yule night. But then we still do the whole family gift exchange and gifts from Santa on the 25th too. So we are actually a day of gifting ahead of the game.
Decorating for the Holidays: Yes, Pagans decorate their homes for the holiday.
There are a few of us who have been known to decorate to the extreme. I am into anything red, green, gold, silver and sparkly myself. We all like to decorate our homes, the yard, trees and so on. We do the whole holiday lights with ornaments, holly, mistletoe, tinsel, baubles, strings of popcorn and candy canes. We even do a few light shows that could put Broad Way to shame. It is the fun and excitement of the season and how cool we can decorate.
Christmas Trees: No we don’t put up Christmas Trees: We put up Yule Trees.
But you would be hard pressed to see a difference in its appearance. Pagans decorated their trees with twinkling lights and holiday decorations that represent our personal beliefs. We use a evergreen tree, yes even artificial to celebrated the Winter Solstice, (Dec. 21st) , the day of the year that the Sun begins its ascent in the sky, thereby ushering a fertile time of planting and bountiful harvests. Hence, the evergreen tree represents eternal life. The tree being used this time of year is a very Pagan tradition.
Yule Trees are covered with lights (originally candles) , ornaments, garlands and tinsel. We top our tree with fairies, ornaments and even stars. Not as the star of Bethlehem, but the Star of our faith the Pentagram a positive symbol of our faith.
Do Pagans celebrate Christmas? No. We don’t celebrate Christmas.
We celebrate and respect the seasons within this time of year. We enjoy the holidays as a time of spreading peace, love and joy unto all the world. We celebrate our personal traditions and practices within our own religious and spiritual understandings. We do not celebrate December 25th as the anniversary of the birth of the son of god called Jesus.
We do celebrate Yule, December 21st, Winter Solstice as the birth of the Sun God. It is a time of the Turning of the Wheel. It is also a time of family, exchanging gifts, decorating trees, being with friends and family, sharing meals and hoping for true peace and love throughout the world.
Just remember that we have to respect other's holidays if we expect them to respect ours.
Have a New Year overflowing with magick.
High Priestess Ravensgrove Coven
Copyright © 12262009
Copyright: Copyright © 12262009
High Priestess Ravensgrove Coven
Lady Abigail Welcher
Location: Titusville, Florida
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