Yuletide is the 12-day period in December in which we hold our biggest celebrations. During the Yuletide, we celebrate our families and our tribes and the bonds that hold us strong. We celebrate our Ancestors. We celebrate our Gods and the Wild Hunt. We celebrate the bright fires of the hearth that keeps us warm, and we celebrate the rebirth of the sun. We have made it halfway through the harshest time of the year. The sun begins to stay in the sky a little longer each day, moving us closer and closer to the fruitful and warm summer.
We celebrate by gathering together to feast and sing songs. We put up our Yule trees and our wreaths. We bake cookies and give presents. We build strong bonds and traditions that our children remember and pass on. It is a joyous time of the year.
We begin the Yuletide on the 20th of December, called Mothersnight. During Mothersnight, we celebrate our ancient mothers, the Disir, who kept the hearth flames burning bright. One way to celebrate this is to extinguish all of the lights in the house. Light a candle to represent the hearth flame and, if you have children, give them pots and pans. Starting at the central part of your home, or the hearth (usually the kitchen and the stove, but can be a literal hearth if you have a fireplace), let the children “chase the ill-wights,” or the bad energy, from each room by running through the house and banging the pots and pans. As you go through each room, light a waiting candle. You are bringing the light of the hearth, of the Goddess Frigga, of the Disir, into each room to bless it. You can say something simple with each candle you light, like “The Goddess Frigga bring love and light into this room” or “The Disir bless this home and all who live within it.”
Yuletide ends on December 31st, a time when people can make oaths for themselves for the coming year.
An AFA tradition started by our esteemed founder Steven McNallen, focuses on celebrating 12 Asatru virtues: Industriousness, Justice, Courage, Generosity, Hospitality, Moderation, Community, Individuality, Truth, Steadfastness, Loyalty, and Wisdom. Each night, we light a candle in honor of each of these virtues. Steven McNallen has videos for each of these days on our YouTube channel, and we recommend that everyone take some time to watch them.
Gythia Catie Erickson