Latest Brews

Sweatpants & Culture | Old Norse Yule Traditions We Hold Dear

By Lesley Gayle

To further my obsession with Vikings, I’d like to share a few Old Norse customs that are still celebrated.  Yule was celebrated in Northern Europe long before Christians suffered from Vikings raids. During Yule the gods were thanked for bringing back the sun and made offering for a good harvest. Although Yule is a no longer an institutionalize celebration, it’s customs have been adopted by many of us.

Here are a few Yule traditions we still have.

Ham

Freya, the Norse goddess of fertility, was associated with boars. To ensure a good harvest in the Spring, pigs were sacrificed and eaten at the Yule feast.

Wreath

Wheels have been a powerful symbol in every culture. The Norse believed the sun was a wheel that rolled back towards the earth after the shortest day of the year. Wreaths of evergreens were a reminder that Spring and the sun would return.

Mistletoe

The Norse believed mistletoe had the power of resurrection, even though it’s mildly poisonous. Balder, God of Light and Goodness, was killed by mistletoe. His mother’s tears turned the mistletoe berry from red to white and her love brought him back to life and. Maybe that is why kissing someone under the mistletoe leads to love. Keep your holiday mistletoe out of reach for pets and children. It can make humans sick, and is toxic to pets.

Goats

Before Santa had reindeer, Thor had goats. In Norse mythology, Thor rode in a chariot or wagon pulled by goats. Young people dressed up in goat skins and went house to house singing and performing skits in exchange for food.

Scandinavian countries still honor this tradition with Julbock – Yule goat decorations made of straw. One town in Sweden makes an enormous version of the Julbock. It’s been destroyed by fire almost every year. You can see if this year’s goat survives on his twitter account here.

Getting your own Yule goat is easy at several Amazon vendors. Amazon – Julbock

This metal Yule goat comes straight from Sweden.

He can’t be destroyed by fire.  Metal Julbock Candle Holder

The Yule log

The Norse cut down a large oak tree and carved runes into it. It was then burned in the home to ask for protection during the winter. Part of the log was saved until the next Yule to keep the protective powers in the home. The modern celebration evolved into a Yule log cake.

For a Yule Log Cake, check out your local bakery or try a mail order vendor.

Mackenzie Ltd – Buche de Noel

If you want to make your own Yule Log cake. You can find a dozen ideas with a quick search. Check out these:

Allrecipes – Buche de Noel

Martha Stewart – Yule Log Layer Cake

Photo Source: Wikipedia & History VIkings

Leslie Gayle

Leslie is a one time CPA, wife and mom of twins. She’s an over thinker who loves karate, thunder, and travel. Her sweatpants are yoga pants and she takes her coffee with milk.

Facebook Comments

comments

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.


*