Yule or Winter Solstice (around 21 of December) is an old Germanic Midwinter celebration. Its name comes from the Old Norse language and means "wheel". This day defines the moment when the year wheel or sun wheel is in its lowest point and it's ready to start new circle. This holiday is considered to be one of the most important, the most popular and the holies days in a year. People celebrated the returning of God Baldr from the realm of Hel, they celebrated the Power of Life that would warm the Earth from the winter cold. Since this moment days became longer and nights shorter.
There're many interesting ancients traditions of Yule celebration. Some of them preserved till our days. For example, such evergreens like the hole, misletoe and laurel were used by people and Druids. They cut leaves and brought them in home as a symbol of life, rebirth, power, renewal. Misletoe was also used as the fertility amulet. Nowadays all these evergreen decorations are used as a symbol of resurrection and of immortal hope.
Yule Tree. Among early pagans the Yule Tree was a symbol of the Tree of Life. It was an important part of celebration. People decorated it with gifts that they wanted to get from the Gods. Also they the put on the tree fruits, berries, pinecones and symbols that were sacred for gods and goddess.
The Yule Log. This tradition came from the ancient Scandinavians. Every year they burned the huge log that fell from the Ash Tree in honour of the God Thor. At the same time Celts believed that this fire would protect their homes from different spirits. Also people believed that the longer log was burning, the faster Sun would come to warm the Earth from cold.
Candles became one more way to bring warmth and light to home, to protect it from evil spirits and lure the Sun light.
Wreaths. During the ancient times it was the symbol of the wheel of year. People made it from evergreens and decorated with berries. It served also as a gift of good life, health and friendship.
Wassail. From the Old English language this word means "be well", "good health". This strong drink was the mix of ale, honey and spices. During the feast the owners of the home greeted the guests with this dring. They lifted the glass wishing the good health "waes hael", guests answered "drinc hael" - "drink and be well".