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  • Writer's pictureSara Ault

12 Nights of Yule - Witan Svan

So in this post, I'll be going briefly over the 12 Nights Yule Tradition that quite a few Folk have been participating in, I have practiced this tradition for almost 15 years now.

In the early years of my coming back to the faith in the early 90s I noticed that the Yuletide holiday was a bit of a nuanced mystery. People all over celebrated it in many different ways. Some folks only celebrated mother's night and then did nothing until 12th night.

This tradition that I'm presenting formulated itself over half a decade, when we were looking at a pan-european concept of what 12 nights of yule would look like.

First we started with the old days of the week Sunna's Day ( Sólsdagr) Máni's Day Tyr's Day Óðin's Day Þór's Day Frigg's Day Wash Day ( Lögrdagr )

Removing the last day , Wash Day, leaves you with six days. So that we added six intercalendary days making a total of 12.

Frigg's Day however was redundant because mother's night is dedicated to her and to Baldur. So we placed Frey's night ( which happens to coincide very well with the old Anglo tradition of making oaths upon the boar's Head, and the traditional meal of a New Year's ham) Lastly we made a differentiation having the intercalendary Days end with night, this would help people remember which days followed each other.

\+Mother's Night Sunna's Day \+Nerða's Night Máni's Day \+ Ancestors Night Tyr's Day \+Einherjar's Night Óðin's Day \+Ullur's Night Þor's Day Land wight's Night Frey's Day

And thus the 12 night tradition was born. Each night having its special task or daily devotionals. Coupling this with the AFA candle lighting upon the virtues every morning. It rounded out to be pretty complete.

One last thing remained many parents were asking about the Yule figure. Researching about the gift-giving Alf or Yule spirit, Jolfather, etc. We took the point that every house has their own Yule Alf. When the yule log is lit it summons him and on his Yule Bock made of the Smoky Ash of the yule log he rides to the ancestors, and returns on ancestors night to drop off the gifts that they wish to give to the children of their line. These gifts are usually wrapped in simple paper and contain utility gifts to keep the children warm and safe and well-educated, school books, reading, art etc. When these gifts are opened the names of the ancestors are on them and the parents bring down pictures from the mantle of each of the ancestors and the gifts they're giving. The Yule elf gives gifts of his own with little treats in the stockings. He punishes miserly children or greedy children with bits of burnt wood and coal. Following the opening of the ancestors gifts, a gift exchange takes place in which each family member gives a gift to another and they open them and turn this pleases the Yule elf as he is truly the spirit of giving to kin. This all takes place on the night of the 24th.

I know this post is long even though I'm attempting to keep it brief so I accompanied it with my rudimentary graphic, and I will also put a print of each day that I typed out on a word document. This should help Folk of desperately been looking for a complete celebration of the Yuletide, please feel free to use what you wish. If you have any questions or comments I'd love to take them.

Witan Svan Herul


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