Glad Yule! The British Columbia Heathen Freehold celebrates a twelve day Yuletide, running from sunset on the 20th of December each year until sunset on the 1st of January.
Yule begins with Mothers’ Night or Modranecht as it was called in Old English. This evening is spent honouring the Ancestral Mothers of the Freehold, your Kindred, and your personal family. This is a very private affair, with great variance in how it can be done locally and between households. As one of the few fainings that is not public, it is a great honour to be invited to one by your local Kindred.
The following morning we begin the festive joy of Yule. Over the next 12 days no work should be done that is not necessary to survival and cleanliness (shifts at work are allowed, as missing a paycheck could endanger your family). In modern times this mostly applies to hobbies. Historically this taboo on unnecessary work gave people a break from the weaving, carving, and knitting that filled most families winter lives. These days it serves another purpose, spend your time with friends and family, preferably giving them gifts that you have made using one of your hobbies.
The Yule Father, a modern Heathen custom analogous to the mainstream Santa Claus, visits Heathen children and leaves them gifts to reward their good deeds through the year. He can visit at any point in the Yuletide as fits the family’s schedule. The two most common dates for him to leave gifts are the 21st and 25th of December, either the first morning of the Yuletide or when he visits the Christian and atheist children’s homes.
Some communities choose to focus each day of the Yuletide on a specific deity or group of Wights. While the Freehold does not endorse any such specific list, it is a custom that blends well with our own. One example of such a practice is listed here and summarised below.
- Dec 20th – Frigga as the Chieftess of the Disir.
- Dec 21st – Mani and Sunna, the god of the Moon and the goddess of the Sun.
- Dec 22nd – Ingui-Freyr and the Elves.
- Dec 23rd – Loki and Sigyn.
- Dec 24th – Odin and Frau Holda.
- Dec 25th – Balder and Nanna.
- Dec 26th – Kari and his kin, Kari is a powerful wind spirit and brother of Aegir.
- Dec 27th – Skadhi and Ullr.
- Dec 28th – Njord and Nerthus.
- Dec 29th – Freya.
- Dec 30th – Idunn and Bragi.
- Dec 31st – Thor and Sif.
One other aspect of the Yuletide is that in the Freehold we treat the whole world as a Frithyard, and no violence or acts of aggression are permitted, even an enemy should be given food and shelter if they arrive at your door. Leave your feuds aside while the Yuletide reigns, you can always pick them up again when the time of Frith is past.
However you choose to celebrate the Yuletide, we sincerely hope that it is a time of joy and relaxation for you.
In Frith and Service,
Freyr of the BCHF