Yule is a celebration that takes place on the winter solstice. Traditionally, the yule log was an actual log that was burned in the fireplace on the night of the solstice. However, today, the yule log is more commonly a cake or a log decorated with yule candles. The candles may be any color, although green, gold, red and white are common. Other people opt for the purple and pink colors of Advent. Each color has a certain symbolic meaning that you can consider when selecting your candles.
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What Is Yule?
Yule is a pagan holiday, although it is often associated with Christmas in modern times. However, yule is not on the 25th of December but rather on the winter solstice, or the shortest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. This typically falls between December 20 and December 23. It is a fire festival that represents rebirth and the return of longer days and fertile soil. It also marks the beginning of the Wiccan year.
The holiday is celebrated in many cultures, and the word can be traced back to the old Norse word "jól" and the old English word "geol."
The Traditional Yule Log
Originally, the yule log was an actual log or even a full tree trunk that was burned on the yule. Families would start burning one end of the trunk, and fire from the tree would last multiple days. Some pagan traditions believe that the log must burn for 12 days and nights. The fire was a symbol to call the sun to return and later, in the Christian tradition, to represent beacons to call Christ.
Today, many people have a different take on the yule log. Many think of the chocolate cake in the shape of a log that is popular at Christmas. The yule log can also be a decorative log that holds candles. The log can be decorated with a variety of natural materials, such as holly, berries, evergreen twigs, pine cones, cinnamon sticks and feathers.
Meaning of Yule Candles
The traditional colors for yule candles are green, gold, red and white. Each color has its own meaning and symbolism. Green and gold candles represent new growth as the days become longer and the time for spring planting approaches after the yule. They also symbolize prosperity and health.
Red candles represent willpower and courage and also symbolize birth. White candles are commonly used for protection and symbolize light.
Advent Candle Colors
Some people opt to use the Advent colors of purple and pink for their yule candles as an alternative to an Advent wreath. Purple is a liturgical color, and these candles represent prayer, penance and sacrifice. The pink candles represent joy.
When these candles are used on an Advent wreath, each of the four candles has an additional meaning. The first two candles and the last candle are purple, and the third candle is pink. The first candle is the prophecy candle and represents hope. The second is the Bethlehem candle and represents faith. The third is the shepherd's candle and represents the joy of the birth of Christ, and the fourth candle is the angel's candle and represents peace.
- Wicca Academy: Wiccan Holidays – Yule
- The Pagan Grimoire: 10 Magical Ways You Can Celebrate Yule This Winter
- Old Farmer's Almanac: What Is Yule? | Christmas Traditions
- Wicca Living: The Wiccan Calendar: Yule (Winter Solstice)
- Mercy Home for Boys & Girls: The Purpose and Symbolism of the Advent Wreath and Candles