I love this word. In this time of being afraid of offending people by simply wishing them good cheers with “Merry Christmas,” I can say happy/merry Yuletide. It still refers to this Christmas season and it’s not ambiguous as Happy Holidays.
This is a nice little piece to have on my blog as it addresses different cultures and traditions. Also, the origins come from a variety of places!
Let me address something first, to me, when someone wishes me a Merry Christmas it just means best wishes to you. If someone told me Happy Hanukkah, I would think the same. Or Happy Ramadan. I do not take offense when I know they are just wishing me the best and it is not an attack on my religion.
But, that’s me, I don’t like thinking of myself as a victim and creating this “us vs them” attitude.
Origins of Yule
Back to Yuletide. Yule, pronounced “You’ll” is actually Germanic in origin and comes from the Viking traditional celebration of Oden.
His celebration was held in December and when the Christians wanted to convert these “pagans” they decided to also place Jesus’ birth the same day in order to say the two gods were actually the same.
Researchers of the bible actually place Jesus’ birth sometime in August.
Yule is also a celebration in December for the Wiccan religion.
You can look at “tide” as meaning season. The season of these celebrations.
There are actually people named Yule, as a surname. This comes from those who were born during this period of celebration. Just like how Smith is from Blacksmith and Copper from barrel maker, Yule also comes from a situation of birth/career.
Where to find Yule
You might also see it in advertisements as “Yule love this.”
If there are any Harry Potter fans, in the 4th book/movie the big dance is called the Yule Ball.
Another Yule item is a Yule Log. This has now become a cake type dessert, but originally it was an actual piece of wood, a log that would be burnt in the fireplace for the Yule Celebrations.
That’s the story of this little known word. If you want to sound fancy during the Christmas season, throw out this older English word!
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