Also known as Yule, is the shortest day and longest night of the year.
In much of the world today its rituals have been mingled with Christmas, let us examine in brief the ancient background of these rituals.
Celts had always celebrated the Winter Solstice as a Celtic Festival. It occurs on the 21st December, or on the 22nd according to the astronomical calendar.
It is a Festival of peace to celebrate the coming of the light, adn to celebrate the rebirth of the Sun God, son of the Goddess.
With the coming of Christianity it’s conception was renamed as Christmas as it honours the birth of Christ.
The tradition of the Yule log is related to one of the rites celebrated by Druids. The log was lit to keep evil spirits at bay, defeat darkness and bring good wishes for the coming year. They would smoulder for twelve days and a part of the log was kept to be strapped to the plough the next spring to bless the land, and another piece was taken to light the next Yule's log.
The holly and ivy are traditionally considered as part of the celebrations brought into the home to celebrate Winter Solstice. Both evergreen plants, symbolise the eternity of the sun, which never dies, but sleeps during the winter season.