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When is a Christmas tree not a Christmas tree?

For all you Atheists that like having a tree up in December fear not Christmas trees are what theists put up in december  Wikipedia has a good article on it and this is the introducty two paragraphs from it. The Christians commandeered what was a pagan religious festival!

Yule or Yuletide ("Yule-time") is a winter festival that was initially celebrated by the historical Germanic people as a pagan religious festival, though it was later absorbed into, and equated with, the Christian festival of Christmas. The festival was originally celebrated from late December to early January on a date determined by the lunar Germanic calendar. The festival was placed on December 25 when the Christian calendar (Julian calendar) was adopted. Scholars have connected the celebration to the Wild Hunt.

Terms with an etymological equivalent to "Yule" are used in the Nordic Countries for the Christian Christmas (with its religious rites), but also for other holidays of the season. Yule is also used to a lesser extent in English-speaking countries to refer to Christmas. Customs such as the Yule logYule goat,Yule boarYule singing, and others stem from Yule. The fact that Yule is not etymologically tied to Christianity means Yule in the Nordic Countries is also celebrated by many non-Christians and even by the non-religious. The non-religious treat Yule as an entirely secular tradition. A number of Neopagans have introduced their own rites.

The link to the wikipedia entry is here:- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yule

The Orthodox churches hold Christmas day on the 12 of January! But they put the tree up in December!

It is a Yule tree!

 

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Comment by Chris on November 7, 2012 at 7:23pm

The article you just posted Dave is much better.

Comment by Davy on November 7, 2012 at 8:08am

You are correct Chris. It is of pagan origin and had absolutely nothing to do with christianity. Christians could not get them from celebrating their traditional festivals so they hijacked them to make them their own.

Here is the meaning from another source dealing with Paganism/Wiccan

Here is the site this is from.

Origins of Yule:

In the Northern hemisphere, the winter solstice has been celebrated for millennia  The Norse peoples viewed it as a time for much feasting, merrymaking, and, if the Icelandic sagas are to be believed, a time of sacrifice as well. Traditional customs such as the Yule log, the decorated tree, and wassailing (carolling) can all be traced back to Norse origins.

Celtic Celebrations of Winter:

The Celts of the British Isles celebrated midwinter as well. Although little is known about the specifics of what they did, many traditions persist. According to the writings of Pliny the Elder, this is the time of year in which Druid priests sacrificed a white bull and gathered mistletoe in celebration.

Meaning of Yule.

"Yule," like many of our Christmas terms, dates back to "pagan" traditions in pre-Christian Europe, and didn't originally have anything to do with Christmas. The word "yule" comes from the Old English "geol," which came in turn from the Norse "jol," a pre-Christian midwinter festival. The Norse "jol" may be related to an ancient Indo-European root meaning "to go around," in this case referring to the "turn" of the year.

The "tide" in "Yuletide" comes from the Old English "tid," meaning "division of time," and in the case of "yuletide" means simply "time or season." If we wish someone "good tidings" or hear the phrase "tidings of great joy," we are harking back to a related Old Icelandic word meaning "news or events."

Comment by Chris on November 7, 2012 at 5:28am

Interesting to learn that Yule means Christian Ritual Christmas in Nordic countries. Looking at the links for yule-log, yule-goat & etc. says they are also Christian. If there were a pagan equivalent of traditions/rituals for the winter solstice as differentiated by a pagan word leading log, goat etc of pagan ritual then wikipedia may have been correct about yule, but as it is the following top line assumption appears incorrect to me making the entire paragraph b/s;

The fact that Yule is not etymologically tied to Christianity.....

means Yule in the Nordic Countries is also celebrated by many non-Christians and even by the non-religious. The non-religious treat Yule as an entirely secular tradition.

Comment by Sydni Moser on November 13, 2011 at 8:38pm

Yes, we do need to have a Solstice/christmas group on A/U.  Happy to help out anyone who wants to start one up, or if all else fails, ya know I will!  Still a bit early don't you think?  After Thanksgiving works for me.

Comment by Sydni Moser on November 13, 2011 at 12:48pm

Since I didn't do it up for Halloween this year with a party, I am going to have a Winter Solstice open house.  Growing up in a jewish home a xmas tree was not an option, although I desperately wanted one as a child.  It wasn't until I was 30 that I found a very small artificial tree in the trash, dragged it home, made my own salt-dough ornaments and had my first solstice celebration.  I've had a tree ever since.  I do love this time of year, the excitement of the season adds brightness to the short gloomy dark days. 

Comment by Jean Marie on November 13, 2011 at 12:27pm

i'm putting the X back in Xmas!! lol!

 

well, sort of! ha ha

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Xmas

Comment by Jean Marie on November 13, 2011 at 12:26pm

i've currently got a computer glitch, trying again to post this song which about sums up christmas to me:

http://youtu.be/fCNvZqpa-7Q

Comment by Jean Marie on November 13, 2011 at 12:22pm

I grew up loving christmas,

and i still do!

my home could easily be mistaken for a theist home upon first glance, in December.

but, if you look closely, there are no angels, no nativity scenes, etc, i try to stay true to the true roots of original festivals, including Saturnalia, and Solstice, (which DID used to be on Dec 25th, and was later moved to Dec 21st).

 

I LOVE this holiday, and being atheist does not stop me from a full on, all-out huge ongong party all month long!  Tree, decoratons, red and green decor, wreaths, my annual famous "Lasagne Party" for all my theist relatives,  much baking and cooking, remembering those i love most with favors and baked goods (i mostly don't buy gifts anymore at all).

 

i love my tree, an old artificial one we've had for years.  I often call it "My ATheist Tree" but, i have come to accept occasionally using the word "christmas", even though i do not believe in christ,

the way i can use the word, "Thursday" even though i don't believe in Thor, either.

.

i love the whole season.  love *almost* everything about it.  look fwd to it every year.

http://youtu.be/fCNvZqpa-7Q

Comment by Adriana on November 13, 2011 at 10:03am

Yes, the Xmas tree was a pagan tradition that the Christian co-opted. I don't put up a tree (I don't want to buy one, not sure it is a good idea to plan all those saplings with the purpose of chopping them off, and the artificial trees look ugly), but I do decorate my window with some lights (ecological) but I like the light decorations. They are so pretty to see all over NYC, too!

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