Friday, 23 December 2016

Yule 2016 + Origins of Father Christmas

I normally post on Sundays or Mondays, but since it's Christmas Day on Sunday this year I decided to do a post today and then maybe write one about Christmas on Boxing Day (Monday).

It was Yule on Wednesday (21st December). I usually buy a chocolate Yule log although two years ago I made one. This year I bought one again, this time from Asda. I've had Sainsbury's most often but more recently it hasn't been as nice. Last year I had a Tesco one. Asda's was quite nice, it was Belgian chocolate. Here's a picture:

I had it with Sainsbury's mince pie ice cream.

I also had red and green candles. I usually get them from a shop in my town but it closed down this year. :( I was disappointed; the shop had been there for years (since I was a little girl). Their candles used to smell lovely. I got some from Mayberry Garden Centre instead and they were quite nice. Here are pics of them:

Red candle

Green candle- the witch's hat is a Hallowe'een decoration we keep up all the time, lol.

Sorry the photos are a bit blurred, I had trouble getting decent ones especially with the light off. But it looks more atmospheric this way. :)

Father Christmas/Santa Claus

I was also inspired by my sister to look into the legend of Father Christmas aka Santa Claus. Apparently they started out as separate myths but more recently they're thought of as the same person. In the UK we tend to say  "Father Christmas", but we also use the name "Santa Claus", like the Americans.

Since Christmas is based on the sabbat Yule (aka the Winter Solstice), it's not surprising that Father Christmas himself has pagan origins. He was associated with the Lord of Misrule, a person randomly selected to preside over the Yule celebrations and make sure everyone had a good time. Yule is the time of year when the Sun God is reborn (like the Christian belief of the birth of Jesus). It's also when the Holly and the Oak Kings battle and the Oak King wins so will now rule over the year as it gradually get lighter, until Midsummer aka Litha/the Summer Solstice. The Holly King has similarities with Father Christmas. Both he and the Oak King are sometimes thought to be aspects of the Wiccan Horned God, also known as Herne the Hunter.

For more on the Holly King and the Oak King legend visit these links:
(This site slows my computer down a bit)* (Now a Protected Blog).

Update 14/12/20: Here are a couple more links about the Holly and the Oak Kings, since the other links are gone: 

Also Tess Whitehouse mentions in this post that the Norse god Odin has been tied to Santa, and the darker side of St. Nicholas is the demon-like Krampus who is like an anti-Santa in some European countries including Germany, Austria, Slovenia and Hungary. Krampus is quite scary!

So Father Christmas was the more pagan, old fashioned, "serious" figure whereas Santa Claus was the kindly, jolly old man who delivered presents to children. The Santa Claus figure partly came from the Dutch legend Sinterklaas, which in turn is related to the story of the real Christian Saint Nicholas. But they merged and in the last 100 years Father Christmas/Santa Claus has become an essential part of Christmas. I'm sad to say that I stopped believing in him when I was only about 3 because I was scared about a stranger coming into the house, so my mum told me that he wasn't real! However I still like the idea of Father Christmas. :)

Hope you enjoyed reading a bit about Father Christmas/Santa. If you'd like to learn more here are some interesting articles and sites: (Just recieced a potentional securiy risk warning- 12/20).

Hope you had a good Yule. It's only 2 days till Christmas now; it seems to have come around quickly again, lol.  I'm planning to bake a cake for Christmas tomorrow, so I'll post about that either next Monday or the week after. Happy Yule and Merry Christmas! :)

*13/12/18: Link now gone.

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