Wiccans to celebrate Yule

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By Special to the Monitor

We all know that December can be a stressful, mad rush to buy gifts, mail out holiday greetings and overload credit cards. But there is another side to this season and it's called Yule – the old holy day of northern European Pagans.

Yule, the festival of the Winter Solstice, is celebrated between Dec. 20 and 23 based on the solar calendar. This year, it is on Sunday. In the Wiccan/Pagan Wheel of the year, Yule is a solar holiday, celebrating fire, whether the fire is the sun, the hearth fire or the flame of a candle.

Many cultures and religions have festivals revolving around this theme. Chanukah is also known as a festival of lights. Traditions such as the Yule log have grown up around this mid-winter holiday. The Christmas tree also has its origins with Yule. The evergreen tree was a symbol of continuing life and more.