Wednesday, 23 December 2020

Yule Evergreens

Yule evergreens decoratively hung over a doorway at Christmas in Stamford, Lincolnshire

Bringing evergreens into the home at Midwinter goes back to a time when people were more connected to the cycles of nature, way before the arrival of Christmas. Evergreens represented everlasting life in the darkest part of the year, and therefore brought the hope of returning light. Each European country, and each British county, had their own specific customs related to evergreens, but many involved hanging them around windows and over doorways.

Holly was hung over entrances to peoples’ homes, and was used to make wreaths. It brought good luck and protection, and was still beautiful in the middle of winter, giving the poor a means of decorating their homes at a time of celebration. The Druids revered holly and believed its evergreen nature was sacred; it kept the earth beautiful at a time when other trees shed their leaves.

Evergreen conifers (pine, fir, cedar, juniper, or spruce) became the Yule Tree, which evolved into the Christmas Tree. The Christmas Tree custom flourished in Germany and over time it spread to other European regions, eventually reaching North America. Traditionally the brightly colored decorations and lights symbolised stellar objects, spirits, religious figures, and religious events.

The ancient Greeks, Druids, Celts, and Norse revered mistletoe as sacred, and it was used for protection, blessing, and medicine. The 23rd December is known as The Nameless Day, and is represented by Mistletoe. This day falls outside the lunar calendar and represents the unshaped potential of all things. This is the extra day in a “year and a day” represented by so many folk tales.

This gorgeous display of evergreens is over a doorway in nearby Stamford, Lincolnshire.

© Original content; repost with clear, written credits. @the_cemetery_witch

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