An ancient belief concerning the Celtic festival of Yule is that the wheel of the year stops briefly at this time of the winter solstice. It was taboo to turn a wheel, or even a butter churn, on the shortest day. This time of stillness was a precious opportunity to consider the year gone by from a point of stillness, and, equally calmly, a chance to look forward to the increasingly active months to come.
Pagans and Wiccans spend the days leading up to, and following on from, the winter solstice in grateful reflection on life, enjoying plenty and laughter with friends and family, as far removed as possible from the strains and stresses of everyday life.
The shortest day and the longest night is a time for Wiccans and Pagans to celebrate the return of the light in the depth of midwinter.
The Winter Solstice Wicca and Pagan Festival
Wiccans Celebrate Shortest Day at the Celtic Festival of Yule
The Celtic Festival of Yule is one of the most evocative and significant festivals for Pagans and Wiccans.
At the winter solstice, Wiccans and Pagans choose what to take with them into the New Year, and what to leave behind. The Wheel of the Year always turns, but the shortest day is a festival of rebirth for Wiccans and Pagans.
Winter solstice celebrations are a time of relaxation, retreat and feasting. Yule is the ancient Saxon word for this festival, and many of the traditions that are still followed today have their origins in pre-history.
Joanne E. Brannan
Reproduced from original paintings by Anne Stokes