Wednesday, December 29, 2010


Joseph Herrin (12-29-2010)

A sister in Christ shared a link to a blog she recently wrote. I found the ideas expressed very thought provoking.

Why Wouldn't They Want Jesus?
By Kimberly Payton Marts

In the cacphony of the world, I seem to hear the following continuous themes:

Everyone wants why wouldn't they want my Jesus? He IS love. (1 John 4:8)

Everyone wants why wouldn't they want my Jesus? He is the prince of peace. (Isaiah 9:6)

Everyone wants why wouldn't they want my Jesus? He is no respecter of persons. He shows no favoritism. All are equal in Him. (Acts 10:34)

Everyone wants to be why wouldn't they want my Jesus? He is the joy of my strength and my salvation. (Nehemiah 8:10)

Everyone wants to be eternally why wouldn't they want my Jesus? He is eternal life. (John 10:28)

Is it possibly because He wants to be the number one priority in our lives and we are to love Him with all of our heart, mind, soul and strength? Is it possibly because He calls us away from sin and we are to live holy, set apart lives? Is it possibly because He might require us to give up something we love that is not worthy of Him, or that He might require us to do something we don't want to do even if it would assure us of love, peace, joy and equality in our lives forever?

Think about it. Jesus is the Way to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Jesus is the truth about life, sin and death. Jesus is life...eternal life, eternal love, eternal peace, eternal joy and to be one with Him is to be equal with all other men and women. We all live by the same standards and requirements. He is the only way to do it. We do not have it in us to do it without Him.

May you find love, peace, joy and equality in Him in the upcoming year!

God Bless and keep you.

Christchurch Update

A brother in Christ informed me last week of renewed earthquakes in Christchurch, NZ, and the parables inherent in this event. I wrote to Peter Boag, who resides in Christchurch, and asked him about the earthquakes there last week. He wrote to me the following insightful letter.

Dear Brother Joseph,

Yes, we ourselves are fine thank you. But I'm scratching my head wondering what our Father is signifying through all that is happening in our land. The current crop of aftershocks have come as quite a surprise, as things seemed to be settling down. To date we have had 4140 aftershocks, but most of them you never feel.

On Boxing day,the 26th Dec., when the retailers were looking to recover some of their losses caused by the recession in New Zealand, and the earthquake in September, we suddenly were experiencing shock after shock, the major one being recorded as a 4.9 magnitude, but which the newspaper reported today as saying actually had more strength than the 7.1 nearly four months ago. In that 24 hours we had 32 aftershocks, and most of them were shallow, and under or close to the city itself, not 40 kilometers away as the September 4th original. The 4.9 one hit just after 10.30am, when the central city was coming alive with the heavily discounted sales being chased by people looking for bargains. Because of the very shallow depth and the epicentre being under the city itself, it caused more damage to buildings than the Sept.4th shock, even though it only lasted a few seconds. Again no one was injured, though parapets of brick fell. The city centre was closed for the day after people were evacuated, and the work of inspecting 5000 buildings began again.This was necessary as many buildings suffered cracks in their structures.Today the 28th., 95% are in business again, but handicapped by blocked streets, and emergency services doing their work.

From the NZPA this morning. 

As engineers continue assess the damage caused by the latest swarm of aftershocks to hit Christchurch it has been revealed that shaking in the central city caused by the biggest tremor exceeded the devastating September 4 quake.

The largest aftershock measuring magnitude 4.9 shook the city at 10.30am on Sunday causing shoppers to flee as bricks and mortar crashed from buildings. Around two dozen aftershocks were felt within the space of 36 hours.

GNS Science strong motion sensors showed that peak ground movements -- from side to side or up and down -- during Sunday's quake reached 48 per cent of the acceleration of gravity at the Christchurch Botanic Gardens, 'The Press' reported.

This compares with the shaking recorded during the magnitude 7.1 quake on September 4, where peak ground acceleration levels recorded in the central city reached between 15 and 20 percent.

GNS Science manager Ken Gledhill said the reason why there had been more damage in the September 4 quake was because the shaking lasted longer.

The Boxing Day quake could have been a magnitude 5.0 as errors in measurements were possible, Mr. Gledhill said.

Meanwhile a cordon remains in place in Cashel Street Mall and engineers will continue to assess damage in the central city area today.

Deputy Mayor Ngaire Button told NZPA yesterday that the Cashel Street mall was unlikely to open today but the council was working hard to reopen the area.

"It depends on business owners and building owners and how quickly they can get their engineers in and do the remediation work that is required," she said.

Inspectors have checked more than 3000 of 5000 buildings within the "four avenues" that surround the centre of the city and have so far identified 115 buildings in need of remedial work.

The aftershocks came at a bad time for Christchurch retailers who were in the middle of Boxing Day sales.

According to Paymark figures, the volume of electronic transactions was down 10.7 percent in Christchurch on last year. This compares to nationwide figures which were down 6.7 percent.

The poor sales have prompted business leaders in Christchurch to call for a Boxing Day "replay" once the dust settles on the latest aftershocks.

[End of copy]

On the 19th November New Zealand suffered a coal mine disaster, after an explosion in a mine on the West Coast, a province adjacent to Canterbury, and separated from Canterbury by the Southern Alps. This explosion killed 29 miners, whose bodies have yet to be recovered. Over the succeeding days, more explosions and toxic gases kept rescuers at bay. This was a major event for New Zealand, which will have great repercussions to that province and to New Zealand.

This, along with a new disease for NZ in one of our fruit exports, and a threatening disease to one of our fish industries, makes me believe that God's judgements have begun on a nation that shares and embraces all the sins that are engulfing other Western nations. Sin is no longer seen as sin, as it was not so long ago, and Christians accept and do the same things that the world does, without any sense of shame or seeming regret.

Observing the local scene, I would have to say that there has not been one pointer to show that Christians at least recognize the Hand of Almighty God in any of these events, other than His Keeping Power. Religious leaders utter platitudes that the world utters,and so fulfill their duties.

I could unload a lot here, but as you may publish this letter I will desist!

I have been very impressed with your building of "The Dreamer' bus, and seeing how His Hand has been in it all. I am sure that He will make it very plain to you as to the use of it.

As always, you are in my prayers, my Brother in Christ,

Love and blessings.

Peter Boag, Christchurch.

The Bus Conversion

Regarding “The Dreamer” bus. I have been busy setting up storage and moving things into it. The Father has indicated that I am to be dwelling in it as the new year, 2011, begins. Whether this indicates that a time of judgment is near, I cannot say, though He has referred to this bus as “an ark.”

I have had a growing anticipation as the bus is nearing completion. As I have begun moving things in that I might better plan my storage needs, there has been an excitement in me about residing there. I am truly blessed by all the assistance that has flowed from the body of Christ in bringing this work to fruition.

Potable Water Pump Under Bus

There have been challenges along the way. The plumbing was the most difficult aspect for me. I had leaks at my first pressure test, but they were quickly corrected. I then had to move the pump for the potable water system twice to get it working correctly. In the picture above, I had moved the pump to a location under the bus so gravity flow would cause the pump to remain primed. It looks real good in the photo, but I had it hooked up backwards so that it was pushing water into the tank, rather than pulling it out. It required some patience and perseverance in getting the system working, but the Father showed me what to do, and the water is flowing just right now.

My moving day is scheduled for either Friday or Saturday of this week. I will be moving the bus to an RV park so I can have full hook-ups. Since the bulk of my labor on the bus is complete, I should be able to devote more time to the ministry of writing.

One thing I have not yet completed on the bus is painting the outside. It has been cold here of late, so I must wait for the weather to warm up before painting. I have been pondering the color scheme, however. Following is a picture of the bus all cleaned up last week, and some ideas I have had for the exterior paint.

Bus Washed

Black and White Paint Scheme (Matches Interior)

White/Black/Gray Scheme

White/Bronze/Black Scheme

White/Blaze/Black Scheme

Okay, those are all the options I am going to post. If you care to share your thoughts on the paint scheme, I invite your responses.

Kristin - A Father’s Joy

Twenty-three years ago today, the Father blessed my life by giving me a daughter. He had spoken to me before Kristin was born, announcing to me what her name would be. After losing my firstborn son, Yahweh said He was going to restore my joy. He truly did so.

I have been very blessed this past year to observe Kristin’s life. It has been a year of challenges for her, but she has arisen in the Spirit to each of them, walking in the fear of Yahweh, seeking always to do that which is pleasing to Him. I can heartily echo John’s own heart when he wrote:

III John 4
I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth.

May you be blessed with peace and understanding in these days.

Heart4God Website:  

Parables Blog:  

Mailing Address:
Joseph Herrin
P.O. Box 804
Montezuma, GA 31063

Tuesday, December 28, 2010


Joseph Herrin (12-28-2010)


There is a growing segment among Christianity who are joining the Hebrew roots movement. I believe a lot of what drives people in this direction is a reaction to the growing apostasy (departure from truth) that is observed among many of the main street churches. Some, desiring to walk in truth, have been appalled at the focus on the love of mammon in the prosperity preaching churches, and the evident influence of unclean spirits in the churches focused upon prophetic gifts and anointing manifested in such extremes as the Todd Bentley “revivals.” These have sought something authentic, yearning for a return to New Testament Christianity and the doctrine of Christ and His apostles.

What is not understood by many is that neither Christ not His disciples tried to convert Greeks to Judaism. Even though the original apostles and first assembly of “The Way” that met in Jerusalem consisted of Jewish men and women who had become disciples of Yahshua, these same ones did not attempt to bring Gentile believers under submission to the Law of Moses. Rather, they spoke such judgments as the following:

Acts 15:23-29
"The apostles and the brethren who are elders, to the brethren in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia who are from the Gentiles, greetings.

"Since we have heard that some of our number to whom we gave no instruction have disturbed you with their words, unsettling your souls, it seemed good to us, having become of one mind, to select men to send to you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul... For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay upon you no greater burden than these essentials: that you abstain from things sacrificed to idols and from blood and from things strangled and from fornication; if you keep yourselves free from such things, you will do well. Farewell."

After much debate regarding whether the Gentile Christians should be instructed to observe the Law of Moses, the conclusion of these Jewish believers in the Messiah was a resounding “No!” Peter, in debating the issue, proclaimed the following:

Acts 15:7-11
And after there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them, "Brethren, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe. And God, who knows the heart, bore witness to them, giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He also did to us; and He made no distinction between us and them, cleansing their hearts by faith. Now therefore why do you put God to the test by placing upon the neck of the disciples a yoke which neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear? But we believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Yahshua, in the same way as they also are."

There was no admonition by the apostles to the Gentile converts to observe the Law of Moses. Feast days, sabbaths, new moons, instructions about washings, the division of animals into clean and unclean foods, none of these things were brought into the churches as requirements for salvation and to be judged as righteous before Yahweh. The apostles were very plain regarding these things.

Colossians 2:16
Therefore let no one act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day - things which are a shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ.

It is well to know the Old Testament, and to study it with great devotion. There are a great many revelations to be gleaned in doing so. The types and shadows of the Old Testament provide understanding of the anti-types and substance of the New Testament. However, to become knowledgeable in the Old Testament one does not need to convert to Judaism, nor to add it to one’s faith in Messiah. Indeed, it is not desirable for the Christian to subject themselves to the yoke of the Law. We have been called to freedom.

What does this mean practically. The Law was focused upon “thou shalt nots.” There were regulations and prohibitions regarding a great many things. This gave rise to a vast legal system and code. The Talmud is an immense collection of rabbinical writings giving opinions on every facet of the Law. Christ was frequently engaged by lawyers, for they were common among the religious Jews. We, however, are called to be led of the Spirit, not constrained by a body of legally written code.

IICorinthians 3:6
It is He Who has qualified us [making us to be fit and worthy and sufficient] as ministers and dispensers of a new covenant of salvation through Christ, not  ministers  of the letter (of legally written code) but of the Spirit; for the code  of the Law  kills, but the Holy Spirit makes alive.

Galatians 5:1-2
It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery. Behold I, Paul, say to you that if you receive circumcision (a testimony of embracing the Law), Christ will be of no benefit to you.

Many sincere Christians today are desiring to return to something authentic in their faith. What they have not understood is that the apostles of the early church did not advocate that Gentile believers embrace Judaism. Many have committed the error of embracing teachings that declare that Christians must adhere to the Law of Moses. They have not discerned that the Law was given for a period of time to lead mankind to Christ. The Law was a schoolmaster, revealing to man their lack of spiritual life. The Law tutored mankind in the truth that no matter how hard they might try to attain to the righteousness of Yahweh, they lacked the divine life necessary to do so. In a nutshell, the Law was intended to show men that they needed to be born of the Spirit, they needed the life of Christ within.

Some have assumed that Christ sent forth His Spirit so men might now keep the Law. This is a great misconception, and actually leads men and women away from the will of God. Submitting themselves to be led of a code of laws, men and women fail to be led of the Spirit. The Law to them becomes a substitute for the Spirit of Christ. This is why Paul writes emphatically:

Galatians 5:4
You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.

The Spirit has been given to the Christian to disclose to them the will of the Father. Submission to the Spirit is far more encompassing that the Law, even with all the vast additions of the Talmud. The Spirit of Christ will lead the saint precisely, specifically, disclosing to them the thoughts of the Father in every matter, and at every decision.

I Corinthians 2:12
Now we have received... the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things freely given to us by God.

Romans 8:14-15
For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, "Abba! Father!"

The Law makes slaves of men, but the Spirit makes sons. Paul makes this very plain.

Galatians 5:1-3
Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage. Indeed I, Paul, say to you that if you become circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing. And I testify again to every man who becomes circumcised that he is a debtor to keep the whole law.

Paul states as clearly and forcefully as language permits, that the law is a yoke of bondage, but Christ has called us to freedom. How was mankind freed from the Law? In Christ, the believer died to the Law, being freed from that which formerly bound them.

Romans 7:1-4
Or do you not know, brethren (for I am speaking to those who know the law), that the law has jurisdiction over a person as long as he lives? For the married woman is bound by law to her husband while he is living; but if her husband dies, she is released from the law concerning the husband. So then if, while her husband is living, she is joined to another man, she shall be called an adulteress; but if her husband dies, she is free from the law, so that she is not an adulteress, though she is joined to another man. Therefore, my brethren, you also were made to die to the Law through the body of Christ, that you might be joined to another, to Him who was raised from the dead, that we might bear fruit for God.

People of God, I share this with you that you might see the error of those who have sincerely confused a turning to Judaism and Hebraic roots as a return authentic New Testament Christianity. Some have mistakenly concluded that the more Jewish they become, the more pleasing they must be to Christ. They are therefore embracing Torah portions, Sabbath observances, feast days, kosher (Kashrut) food regulations, and even taking to themselves Hebrew names.

Seeing that the apostles never advised the Gentile believers to embrace these things, how much more is it unnecessary to adopt Jewish holidays such as Hanukkah that were devised by Jewish men? Yahweh delivered to Moses three main feast days that break down into seven distinct events. Man has added to this. History reveals that when man adds to that which Yahweh has established, he always gets into error.

Hanukkah Menorahs

This adding to the things of God is also observed in the Hanukkah Menorah. Yahweh delivered to Moses the design for the seven branched candlestick to be placed in the Tabernacle in the wilderness. At Hanukkah a nine branched candlestick is featured (this breaks down to 8 plus 1 branches). Once more man is adding to the perfect design of God and arriving at something very different.

Christians embracing Hanukkah to arrive at a more authentic Christianity is an act predicated upon error. Neither Christ nor His disciples ever advocated that the believers observe Hanukkah. It has but one mention in the entire Bible, and is mentioned only in passing to give context to an event in the life of Christ.

John 10:22-24
At that time the Feast of the Dedication (Hanukkah) took place at Jerusalem; it was winter, and Yahshua was walking in the temple in the portico of Solomon.

There are abundant writings present on the Internet declaring from this Scripture that Yahshua celebrated Hanukkah. This is a manifestation of failing to “rightly divide the word of God.” It is nowhere indicated that Yahshua celebrated Hanukkah in any way? Did He and His disciples light the nine branched menorah? Did they give gifts to one another at this time? Did they set at the table and spin the dreidel together?

Yahshua frequently walked in the temple and in Solomon’s porch. There is absolutely nothing written here to represent an endorsement by Christ of this man-made feast. John mentions the Feast in passing, possibly to indicate that, even though it was winter, there were many Jews in Jerusalem at that time.

Christ spoke no words regarding the Feast. There is no mention of participation in it. Why then do so many Christians latch onto this single mention as if it were a command from the Father, and an endorsement from on high, that believers today celebrate Hanukkah?

I would urge the saints to consider the following. The Hanukkah celebration finds its written authority in the two extra-Biblical books of first and second Maccabees. These books were not inspired of the Holy Spirit. They were not written by the apostles. These books were authored during a long season when Yahweh was not speaking to His people through prophets. For 400 years, up until the birth of Christ, God had given no new word to His people. These were the silent years, and in the silence man filled in the void with his own inventions.

Consider also that the condition of Judaism at this time was apostate. This dark period set the stage for the appearance of the Messiah, the light of the world. Yet the darkness over the people was so profound that they rejected the prophesied Messiah, crucifying Him between two thieves. It was the Jewish rulers and religious crowd, the same ones who devised Hanukkah, that rejected the Son of God and crucified the Lord of glory.

Why then would the Christian today want to embrace a man-made holiday established by the leaders of apostate Judaism? Some would perhaps argue that a true miracle occurred as the Maccabees cast off the defilement of Antiochus IV who defiled the Temple. They might suggest that the candlestick in the Temple burned miraculously for eight days on a single cruse of olive oil, and this miracle of Yahweh indicates His hand in this revolt and in the re-dedication of the Temple.

The story of the miracle of the oil is a fable, a fabrication of man that is absent from all reliable accounts of the Maccabean revolt. The entire story of the miracle of the oil is based upon a single mention of the event in the Talmud, written centuries after the fact. It is not recorded in the books of the Maccabees, nor in the writings of Josephus who wrote a very detailed history of the Jewish revolt of this period.

So, not only do we have a man-made festival devised during a period of great spiritual darkness among the Jews, its central symbol (the nine branched menorah) is a corruption of Yahweh’s design, and the entire justification for its creation and the practice of candle lighting is based upon a false story that never happened.

Christians, seeking an alternative to the clearly pagan elements of Christmas, are embracing a Jewish festival that is no better. Indeed, there is much evidence that Hanukkah is merely the Jewish version of the ever present practice of sun worship imported from ancient Babylon.

The original name for the Hanukkah celebration was the Festival of Lights, or merely Lights. It is celebrated in winter at the time of the Winter solstice. The original event upon which the date was established was Antiochus’s sacrifice to Zeus. The Jews rededicated the newly built altar exactly three years after Antiochus defiled the previous one, on the very date of the celebration to Zeus, coinciding with the winter solstice. The Hanukkah celebration has many of the same elements as the pagan festivals, including Christmas. The timing is the same. There is feasting. The houses are lighted. Gifts are exchanged. And if one has eyes to see it, a lighted tree is the centerpiece.

The Hanukkah menorah is a variation of the Christmas tree. It is described as having branches. It typically has one central branch higher than the others that remains lit, and is used to light the eight branches to the sides. This is a perfect parallel to the practices of Sun worship and the veneration of Lucifer as the Light Bearer who brings light to mankind.

In the recent blog titled “A Rockefeller Christmas” I wrote of the link between Prometheus and Satan and the Christmas Tree.

The Hanukkah menorah features a central “servant candle” that is used to light the other candles, one additional candle each day for eight days. Satan portrays himself as a servant to mankind, seeking their benefit and welfare. He would describe his act in the garden of Eden as a charitable act of bringing light and knowledge to mankind. His self-portrayal is as one who enlightens mankind even as the central and elevated candle on the Hanukkah menorah is used to light the branches around it.

Is it not likely that the Jewish people, who have frequently embraced the worship of false deities, of the sun and moon and stars, during this period of darkness in their history revived some of the Babylonian practices they were familiar with, dressing them in the garb of reverence for Yahweh in the same way that Christians have dressed the pagan sun celebration in the garb of reverence for the birth of Yahshua?

I do not have the historical evidence before me to establish such a link in a concrete manner, but the circumstantial evidence is abundant. To have a festival established on the date of the winter solstice that uses ever increasing lights as its main features, is highly suspect. Those sun worshipers who celebrated on this date from antiquity did so as the Sun was gaining ascendancy by remaining in the sky a little longer each day. This pattern is repeated as one additional candle on the Hanukkah menorah is lit each day until all of them are lit.

Such a practice is a departure from even the dubious historical account of the miracle of the menorah in the Temple. In that false story, the entire candlestick was lit for the entire time, but in the tradition of Hanukkah one begins with a single lit candle and adds an additional one daily, following the example of the Sun which is shining a little more strongly in the heavens each day.

I must encourage the saint who desires to walk in truth to investigate this matter further on their own. What is evident is that the Gentile converts to Christianity were never exhorted by the apostles to embrace Jewish Law or traditions. They were called to be people led of the Spirit of Christ who indwells them.

Much deception abounds in this hour, and all things should be examined carefully.

Jeremiah 8:1-2
"At that time," declares Yahweh, "they will bring out the bones of the kings of Judah, and the bones of its princes, and the bones of the priests, and the bones of the prophets, and the bones of the inhabitants of Jerusalem from their graves. And they will spread them out to the sun, the moon, and to all the host of heaven, which they have loved, and which they have served, and which they have gone after, and which they have sought, and which they have worshiped. They will not be gathered or buried; they will be as dung on the face of the ground.”

Special Note: All comments submitted to this blog are moderated. This is a teaching website and is not intended to serve as a public forum for expressing diverse and conflicting opinions. If you have a different viewpoint to present I would be glad to read it, and to discuss it patiently with you. Please e-mail if this is the case as I have no way to write to you if you post your disagreement as a comment.

Yahweh has not directed me to host a discussion forum. There are many problems inherent with them, and many abuses. To read further about the dangers of "Christian" discussion forums, please go to the following link:

May you be blessed with peace and understanding in these days.

Heart4God Website:  

Parables Blog:  

Mailing Address:
Joseph Herrin
P.O. Box 804
Montezuma, GA 31063

Saturday, December 25, 2010

That's Not MY Birthday!

A very good two-minute audio file. Please listen to the audio file found at the link below, then continue.

So whose birthday is on December 25th? Check out this list under the heading "Winter Solstice" on the Wikipedia website.


Japanese Sun Goddess Amaterasu emerging from a cave.

Amaterasu celebration, Requiem of the Dead (7th century Japan)

In late seventh century Japan, festivities were held to celebrate the reemergence of Amaterasu or Amateras, the sun goddess of Japanese mythology, from her seclusion in a cave. Tricked by the other gods with a loud celebration and then she peeks out to look and finds the image of herself in a mirror and is convinced by the other gods to return, bringing sunlight back to the universe. Requiems for the dead were held and Manzai and Shishimai were performed throughout the night, awaiting the sunrise. Aspects of this tradition survive on New Years.[8]


Beiwe Festival (Sámi of Northern Fennoscandia)

The Saami, indigenous people of Finland, Sweden and Norway, worship Beiwe, the sun-goddess of fertility and sanity. She travels through the sky in a structure made of reindeer bones with her daughter, Beiwe-Neia, to herald back the greenery on which the reindeer feed. On the winter solstice, her worshipers sacrifice white female animals, and thread the meat onto sticks which they bend into rings and tie with bright ribbons. They also cover their doorposts with butter so Beiwe can eat it and begin her journey once again.[9]

Brumalia (Roman Kingdom)

Influenced by the Ancient Greek Lenaia festival, Brumalia was an ancient Roman solstice festival honoring Bacchus, generally held for a month and ending December 25. The festival included drinking and merriment. The name is derived from the Latin word bruma, meaning "shortest day" or "winter solstice". The festivities almost always occurred on the night of December 24.


Chawmos (Kalash of Pakistan

In the ancient traditions of the Kalash people of Pakistan, during winter solstice, a demigod returns to collect prayers and deliver them to Dezao, the supreme being. "During this celebrations women and girls are purified by taking ritual baths. The men pour water over their heads while they hold up bread. Then the men and boys are purified with water and must not sit on chairs until evening when goat's blood is sprinkled on their faces. Following this purification, a great festival begins, with singing, dancing, bonfires, and feasting on goat tripe and other delicacies".[10]

Christmas, Natalis Domini (4th century Rome, 11th century England, Christian)

Folktale of Father Christmas riding a yule goat.
Christmas or Christ's Mass is one of the most popular Christian celebrations as well as one of the most globally recognized mid-winter celebrations in the Northern hemisphere. Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, believed to be the Son of God, the second entity of the Holy Trinity, according to the Christian tradition. The birth is observed on December 25, which was the Roman winter solstice upon establishment of the Julian Calendar.[11] See Christian Nativity. Universal activities include feasting, Midnight Masses and singing Christmas carols about the Nativity. Good deeds and gift giving in the tradition of St. Nicholas or Santa Claus is also observed. Many observe the holiday for twelve days leading up to the Epiphany.


Deygān, Maidyarem (Zoroastrian)

Theologically, Maidyarem is associated with Vahman, the Amesha Spenta (or Holy Immortal) who created the primal bull, and all cattle, and is associated with good plans and intentions. Maidyarem is celebrated in Dey, the tenth month of the Zoroastrian calendar, from the sixteenth (Mihr) to the twentieth (Bahram) day. There are also speculations that by the Persian calendar many celebrated on the last day of the Persian month Azar, the longest night of the year, when the forces of Ahriman are assumed to be at the peak of their strength. The next day, the first day of the month Dey, known as khoram ruz or khore ruz (the day of sun) belongs to God (Ahura Mazda). Since the days are getting longer and the nights shorter, this day marks the victory of Sun over the darkness. The occasion was celebrated in the ancient Persian Deygan Festival dedicated to Ahura Mazda, and Mithra on the first day of the month Dey.[12]

Dōngzhì Festival (East Asian Cultural Sphere and Mahayana Buddhist)

Families eat pink and white tangyuan, symbolizing family unity and prosperity.
The Winter Solstice Festival or The Extreme of Winter (Chinese and Japanese: 冬至; Korean: 동지; Vietnamese: Đông chí) (Pinyin: Dōng zhì), (Rōmaji: Tōji), (Romaja:Dongji) is one of the most important festivals celebrated by the Chinese and other East Asians during the dongzhi solar term on or around December 21 when sunshine is weakest and daylight shortest; i.e., on the first day of the dongzhi solar term. The origins of this festival can be traced back to the yin and yang philosophy of balance and harmony in the cosmos. After this celebration, there will be days with longer daylight hours and therefore an increase in positive energy flowing in. The philosophical significance of this is symbolized by the I Ching hexagram (復, "Returning"). Traditionally, the Dongzhi Festival is also a time for the family to get together. One activity that occurs during these get togethers (especially in the southern parts of China and in Chinese communities overseas) is the making and eating of Tangyuan (湯圓, as pronounced in Cantonese; Mandarin Pinyin: Tāng Yuán) or balls of glutinous rice, which symbolize reunion. In Korea, similar balls of glutinous rice (Korean: 새알심) (English pronunciation:Saealsim), is prepared in a traditional porridge made with sweet red bean (Korean: 팥죽)(English pronunciation:Patjook). Patjook was believed to have a special power and sprayed around houses on winter solstice to repel sinister spirits. This practice was based on a traditional folk tale, in which the ghost of a man that used to hate patjook comes haunting innocent villagers on the winter solstice.


Goru (Dogon of Mali)

Goru is the (December) winter solstice ceremony of the Pays Dogon of Mali. It is the last harvest ritual and celebrates the arrival of humanity from the sky god, Amma, via Nommo inside the Aduno Koro, or the "Ark of the World".[13]


Hanukkah (Hebrew: חֲנֻכָּה‎, Tiberian: Ḥănukkāh, nowadays usually spelled חנוכה pronounced [χanuˈka] in Modern Hebrew, also romanized as Chanukah, also known as the Festival of Lights is an eight-day Jewish holiday commemorating the rededication of the Holy Temple (the Second Temple) in Jerusalem at the time of the Maccabean Revolt of the 2nd century BCE, Hanukkah is observed for eight nights, starting on the 25th day of Kislev according to the Hebrew calendar, which may occur at any time from late November to late December in the Gregorian calendar.

The festival is observed by the kindling of the lights of a unique candelabrum, the nine-branched Menorah or Hanukiah, one additional light on each night of the holiday, progressing to eight on the final night. The typical Menorah consists of 9 branches. An extra light called a shamash (Hebrew: שמש, "attendant" or "sexton")[1] is also lit each night for the purpose of lighting the others, and is given a distinct location, usually above or below the rest. The "shamash" symbolically supplies light that may be used.

There is discussion if Hanukkah should be classified as a winter solstice holiday. The Jewish calender is neither solar nor lunar in nature but exists as a tension between the two. As such, while the events that are commemorated by Hanukkah happened on or around the solstice, because of the use of the lunar calendar, Hanukkah is sometimes celebrated as early as late November.

Hogmanay (Scotland)

The New Years Eve celebration of Scotland is called Hogmanay. The name derives from the old Scots name for Yule gifts of the Middle Ages. The early Hogmanay celebrations were originally brought to Scotland by the invading and occupying Norse who celebrated a solstitial new year (England celebrated the new year on March 25). In 1600, with the Scottish application of the January 1 New year and the church's persistent suppression of the solstice celebrations, the holiday traditions moved to December 31. The festival is still referred to as the Yules by the Scots of the Shetland Islands who start the festival on December 18 and hold the last tradition (a Troll chasing ritual) on January 18. The most widespread Scottish custom is the practice of first-footing which starts immediately after midnight on New Years. This involves being the first person (usually tall and dark haired) to cross the threshold of a friend or neighbor and often involves the giving of symbolic gifts such as salt (less common today), coal, shortbread, whisky, and black bun (a fruit pudding) intended to bring different kinds of luck to the householder. Food and drink (as the gifts, and often Flies cemetery) are then given to the guests.[14]

Scots never celebrated Hogmany, they celebrated the new year. Traditionally Hogmany was a day of preparation and the celebrations did not begin until after midnight ie into the New Year. It was like many winter festivals and really celebrated the end of winter and the return of the sun.


Inti Raymi (Inca: Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador)

The Inti Raymi or Festival of the Sun was a religious ceremony of the Inca Empire in honor of the sun god Inti. It also marked the winter solstice and a new year in the Andes of the Southern Hemisphere. One ceremony performed by the Inca priests was the tying of the sun. In Machu Picchu there is still a large column of stone called an Intihuatana, meaning "hitching post of the sun" or literally for tying the sun. The ceremony to tie the sun to the stone was to prevent the sun from escaping. The Spanish conquest, never finding Machu Picchu, destroyed all the other intihuatana, extinguishing the sun tying practice. The Catholic Church managed to suppress all Inti festivals and ceremonies by 1572. Since 1944 a theatrical representation of the Inti Raymi has been taking place at Sacsayhuamán (two km. from Cusco) on June 24 of each year, attracting thousands of local visitors and tourists. The Monte Alto culture may have also had a similar tradition.[15][16]


Junkanoo, John Canoe, Dzon'ku 'Nu (West Africa, Bahamas, Jamaica, 19th-century North Carolina, Virginia)

2006, Junkanoo in the Bahamas
Junkanoo, in The Bahamas, Junkunno or Jonkanoo, in Jamaica, is a fantastic masquerade, parade and street festival, suspected to be derived from either Dzon'ku 'Nu (tr: Witch-doctor) of the West African Papaws, an Ewe people[17] or Njoku Ji, an Alusi (Igbo: deity) of the Igbo people.[18] It is traditionally performed through the streets towards the end of December, and involves participants dressed in a variety of fanciful costumes, such as the Cow Head, the Hobby Horse, the Wild Indian, and the Devil. The parades are accompanied by bands usually consisting of fifes, drums, and coconut graters used as scrapers, and Jonkanoo songs are also sung. A similar practice was once common in coastal North Carolina, where it was called John Canoe, John Koonah, or John Kooner. John Canoe was likened to the wassailing tradition of medieval Britain. John Canoe was interpreted by many Euro-Americans to bear strong resemblance to the social inversion rituals that marked the ancient Roman celebration of Saturnalia.


Karachun (Ancient Western Slavic)

Karachun, Korochun or Kračún was a Slavic holiday similar to Halloween as a day when the Black God and other evil spirits were most potent. It was celebrated by Slavs on the longest night of the year. On this night, Hors, symbolising the old sun, becomes smaller as the days become shorter in the Northern Hemisphere, and dies on December 22nd, the December solstice. He is said to be defeated by the dark and evil powers of the Black God. In honour of Hors, the Slavs danced a ritual chain-dance which was called the horo. Traditional chain-dancing in Bulgaria is still called horo. In Russia and Ukraine, it is known as khorovod. On December 23rd Hors is resurrected and becomes the new sun, Koleda. On this day, Western Slavs burned fires at cemeteries to keep their departed loved ones warm, organized dinings in the honor of the dead so as they would not suffer from hunger and lit wooden logs at local crossroads.

Koleda, Коляда, Sviatki, Dazh Boh (Ancient Eastern Slavic and Sarmatian)

In ancient Slavonic cultures, the festival of Kaleda began at Winter Solstice and lasted for ten days. In Russia, this festival was later applied to Christmas Eve but most of the practices were lost after the Soviet Revolution. Each family made a fire in their hearth and invited their personal household gods to join in the festivities. Children disguise themselves on evenings and nights and as Koledari[disambiguation needed], visited houses and sang wishes of good luck, like Shchedryk, to hosts. As a reward, they were given little gifts, a tradition called Kolyadovanie, much like the old wassailing or mummers Tradition.[19][20]


Lá an Dreoilín, Wren day(Celtic, Irish, Welsh, Manx)

For an unknown period, Lá an Dreoilín or Wren day has been celebrated in Ireland, the Isle of Man and Wales on December 26. Crowds of people, called wrenboys, take to the roads in various parts of Ireland, dressed in motley clothing, wearing masks or straw suits and accompanied by musicians supposedly in remembrance of the festival that was celebrated by the Druids. Previously the practice involved the killing of a wren, and singing songs while carrying the bird from house to house, stopping in for food and merriment.

Maenad depicted in red-figure cup, ca. 480 BC, Louvre

Lenæa (Ancient and Hellenistic Greece)

In the Aegean civilizations, the exclusively female midwinter ritual, Lenaea or Lenaia, was the Festival of the Wild Women. In the forest, a man or bull representing the god Dionysus was torn to pieces and eaten by Maenads. Later in the ritual a baby, representing Dionysus reborn, was presented. Lenaion, the first month of the Delian calendar, derived its name from the festival's name. By classical times, the human sacrifice had been replaced by that of a goat, and the women's role had changed to that of funeral mourners and observers of the birth. Wine miracles were performed by the priests, in which priests would seal water or juice in a room overnight and the next day they would have turned into wine. The miracle was said to have been performed by Dionysus and the Lenaians. By the 5th century BC the ritual had become a Gamelion festival for theatrical competitions, often held in Athens in the Lenaion theater. The festival influenced the ancient Roman Brumalia.[21][22][23]

Lohri (India)

In Punjab, the winter solstice is celebrated as Lohri. Lohri is of Punjabi folk religion origin [24] It finds no mention in the Hindu Puranas but has over time been twinned with the Hindu festival of Makar Sankranti which is celebrated a day after Lohri and is known as Maghi. For this reason, Lohri is not actually celebrated on the winter solstice but at the end of the month, Paush.

The Lucia procession in Sweden, 2007

Lucia, Feast of St. Lucy (Ancient Swedish, Scandinavian Lutheran, Eastern Orthodox)

Lucia or Lussi Night happens on December 13, what was supposed to be the longest night of the year. The feast was later appropriated by the Catholic Church in the 16th century as St. Lucy's Day. It was believed in some folklore of Sweden that if people, particularly children, did not carry out their chores, the female demon, the Lussi or Lucia die dunkle would come to punish them.[25]


Makara Sankranti, मकर संक्रान्ति (India and Nepal, Hindu)

Makara Sankranti, celebrated at the beginning of Uttarayana उत्तरायण, is the only Hindu festival which is based on the celestial calendar rather than the lunar calendar. The zodiac having drifted from the solar calendar has caused the festival to now occur in mid-January (see precession of equinoxes). In Tamil Nadu it is celebrated as the festival of Pongal. The day before Pongal, the last day of the previous year, they celebrate Bhogi. In Assam it is called Magh Bihu (the First day of Magh), in Punjab Maghi and in Hindi speaking states and Maharshtra it is observed as Makar Sankranti and is celebrated by exchanging balls of sesame candy (Til Gur) and requesting each other to be as sweet as the candy balls for the next year. It is called Makara Sankrant because the sun enters the zodiacal sign of Capricorn on 14 January (Makar meaning Capricorn). It is celebrated with much pomp in Andhra Pradesh, where the festival is celebrated for three days and is more of a cultural festival than an auspicious day as in other parts of India. In some parts of India, the festival is celebrated by taking dips in the Ganges or another river and offering water to the Sun god. The dip is said to purify the self and bestow punya. In many states, mainly in Gujarat, families fly bright colorful kites from their roofs all day and into the night. It is a form of celebrating and welcoming the longer days. It is also very common to feed grass to the cows on this day. In Assam on Bihu Eve or Uruka families build house-like structures called bhelaghar and separate large bhelaghar are built by the community as a whole. Different sorts of twine are tied around fruit trees. Traditionally, fuel is stolen for the final ceremony, when all the bhelaghar are burned. Their remains are then placed at the fruit trees. Special puja is offered as a thanksgiving for good harvest. Since the festival is celebrated in midwinter, the foods prepared for this festival are such that they keep the body warm and give high energy. Laddu of til made with jaggery is specialty of the festival.[26]

Maruaroa o Takurua, (New Zealand, Maori)

Occurring June 20 – June 22 the Maruaroa o Takurua is seen by the New Zealand Maori as the middle of the winter season. It follows directly after the rise of Matariki (Pleiades) which marked the beginning of the New Year and was said to be when the Sun turned from his northern journey with his winter-bride Takurua (the star Sirius) and began his journey back to his Summer-bride Hineraumati.

Newgrange's passage is lined up with the winter solstice.

Meán Geimhridh, Celtic Midwinter (Celtic, Ancient Welsh, Neodruidic)

Meán Geimhridh (Irish tr: midwinter) or Grianstad an Gheimhridh (Ir tr: winter solstice) is a name sometimes used for hypothetical midwinter rituals or celebrations of the Proto-Celtic tribes, Celts, and late Druids. In Ireland's calendars, the solstices and equinoxes all occur at about midpoint in each season. The passage and chamber of Newgrange (Pre-Celtic or possibly Proto-Celtic 3,200 BC), a tomb in Ireland, are illuminated by the winter solstice sunrise. A shaft of sunlight shines through the roof box over the entrance and penetrates the passage to light up the chamber. The dramatic event lasts for 17 minutes at dawn from the 19th to the 23rd of December. The point of roughness is the term for the winter solstice in Wales which in ancient Welsh mythology, was when Rhiannon gave birth to the sacred son, Pryderi. In Britain, during the 18th century, there was a revival of interest in Druids. Today, amongst Neo-druids, Alban Arthan (Welsh tr. light of winter but derived from Welsh poem, Light of Arthur) is celebrated on the winter solstice with a ritualistic festival, and gift giving to the needy.

"Midwinter blót" (at Uppsala Temple), by Carl Larsson (1915)

Midvinterblót (Swedish folk religion)

In Sweden and many surrounding parts of Europe, polytheistic tribes celebrated a Midvinterblot or mid-winter-sacrifice, featuring both animal and human sacrifice. The blót was performed by goði, or priests, at certain cult sites, most of which have churches built upon them now. Midvinterblot paid tribute to the local gods, appealing to them to let go winter's grip. The folk tradition was finally abandoned by 1200, due to missionary persistence.

Midwinter (Antarctica)

In research stations throughout Antarctica, Midwinter is widely celebrated as a way to mark the fact that the people who winter-over just went through half their turn of duty. Depending on the station the celebrations can last from a day to a week and are typically marked by parties, team games, redecoration of the premises and days off work. Note, however, that the Northern Hemisphere winter solstice of Dec. 21 is actually the summer solstice in Antarctica; the Antarctic midwinter celebration is held in June.[27]

Modranicht, Modresnach (Germanic)

Mōdraniht was a Germanic feast. It was believed that dreams on this night foretold events in the upcoming year. By 730, it was thought by Bede to have been observed by the Anglo-Saxons on the eve of the winter solstice. After the reemergence of Christmas in Britain Mothers Night was recognized by many as one of the Twelve Days of Christmas.[28][29]

Mummer's Day, Montol (Celtic, Cornish)

Mummer's Day referencing the animist garbs, or Darkie Day referencing the soot facing ritual, is an ancient Cornish midwinter celebration that occurs every year on December 26 and New Year's Day in Padstow, Cornwall. It was originally part of the pagan heritage of midwinter celebrations that were regularly celebrated all over Cornwall where people would guise dance and disguise themselves by blackening up their faces or wearing masks. In Penzance the festival has been given the name Montol believing it to be the Celtic Cornish word for Winter Solstice.


The Badalisc in Val Camonica

Perchta ritual (Germania, Alps)

Early Germans (c.500–1000) considered the Norse goddess, Hertha or Bertha to be the goddess of light, domesticity and the home. They baked yeast cakes shaped like shoes, which were called Hertha's slippers, and filled with gifts. "During the Winter Solstice houses were decked with fir and evergreens to welcome her coming. When the family and serfs were gathered to dine, a great altar of flat stones was erected and here a fire of fir boughs was laid. Hertha descended through the smoke, guiding those who were wise in saga lore to foretell the fortunes of those persons at the feast".[30] There are also darker versions of Perchta which terrorize children along with Krampus. Many cities had practices of dramatizing the gods as characters roaming the streets. These traditions have continued in the rural regions of the Alps, and various similar traditions, such as Wren day, survived in the Celtic nations until recently. This is commonly used in Holland.


Rozhanitsa Feast (12th century Eastern Slavic Russian)

In twelfth century Russia, the eastern Slavs worshiped the winter mother goddess, Rozhnitsa, offering bloodless sacrifices like honey, bread and cheese. Bright colored winter embroideries depicting the antlered goddess were made to honor the Feast of Rozhanitsa in late December. And white, deer-shaped cookies were given as lucky gifts. Some Russian women continued the observation of these traditions into the 20th century.[31]


Shab-e Chelleh, یلدا , Yaldā (2nd millennium BC Persian, Iranian)

Derived from a pre-Zoroastrian festival, Shab-e Chelleh is celebrated on the eve of the first day of winter in the Persian calendar, which always falls on the solstice. Yalda is the most important non-new-year Iranian festival in modern-day Iran and it has been long celebrated in Iran by all ethnic/religious groups. According to Iranian mythology, Mithra was born at the end of this night after the long-expected defeat of darkness against light. "Shab-e Chelleh" is now an important social occasion, when family and friends get together for fun and merriment. Usually families gather at their elders' homes. Different kinds of dried fruits, nuts, seeds and fresh winter fruits are consumed. The presence of dried and fresh fruits is reminiscence of the ancient feasts to celebrate and pray to the deities to ensure the protection of the winter crops. Watermelons, persimmons and pomegranates are traditional symbols of this celebration, all representing the sun. It used to be customary to stay awake Yalda night until sunrise eating, drinking, listening to stories and poems, but this is no longer very common as most people have things to do on the next day. During the early Roman Empire many Syrian Christians fled from persecution into the Sassanid Empire of Iran, introducing the term Yaldā, meaning birth, causing Shab-e Yaldā to became synonymous with Shab-e Chelleh. Although both terms are used interchangeably, Chelleh is more commonly accepted for this occasion.[12]

Decorated Sri Maha Bodhi Tree in Sri Lanka

Sanghamitta Day (Buddhist)

Sanghamitta is in honor of the Buddhist nun who brought a branch of the Bodhi tree to Sri Lanka where it has flourished for over 2,000 years.

Saturnalia, Chronia (Ancient Greek, Roman Republic)

Originally celebrated by the ancient Greeks as Kronia, the festival of Cronus, Saturnalia was the feast at which the Romans commemorated the dedication of the temple of Saturn, which originally took place on 17 December, but expanded to a whole week, up to 23 December. A large and important public festival in Rome, it involved the conventional sacrifices, a couch set in front of the temple of Saturn and the untying of the ropes that bound the statue of Saturn during the rest of the year. Besides the public rites there were a series of holidays and customs celebrated privately. The celebrations included a school holiday, the making and giving of small presents (saturnalia et sigillaricia) and a special market (sigillaria). Gambling was allowed for all, even slaves during this period. The toga was not worn, but rather the synthesis, i.e., colorful, informal "dinner clothes" and the pileus (freedman's hat) was worn by everyone. Slaves were exempt from punishment, and treated their masters with disrespect. The slaves celebrated a banquet before, with, or served by the masters. Saturnalia became one of the most popular Roman festivals which led to more tomfoolery, marked chiefly by having masters and slaves ostensibly switch places, temporarily reversing the social order. In Greek and Cypriot folklore it was believed that children born during the festival were in danger of turning into Kallikantzaroi which come out of the Earth after the solstice to cause trouble for mortals. Some would leave colanders on their doorsteps to distract them until the sun returned.

Şewy Yelda (Kurdish)

The Night of Winter. Since the night is the longest in the year, ancient tribes believed that it was the night before a victory of light over darkness and signified a rebirth of the sun. The sun plays an important role in several ancient religions still practiced by some Kurds in addition to its importance in Zoroastrianism.
In modern times, communities in the Kurdistan region still observe the night as a holiday. Many families prepare large feasts for their communities and the children play games and are given sweets in similar fashion to modern-day Halloween practices.

Mosaic of Sol (the Sun) in Mausoleum M in the pre-fourth-century necropolis under St Peter's Basilica. Some have interpreted it as representing Christ.

Sol Invictus Festival (3rd century Roman Empire)

Sol Invictus ("the undefeated Sun") or, more fully, Deus Sol Invictus ("the undefeated sun god") was a religious title that allowed several solar deities to be worshipped collectively, including Elah-Gabal, a Syrian sun god; Sol, the god of Emperor Aurelian; and Mithras, a soldiers' god of Persian origin.[32] Emperor Elagabalus (218–222) introduced the festival of the birth of the Unconquered Sun (or Dies Natalis Solis Invicti) to be celebrated on December 25, and it reached the height of its popularity under Aurelian, who promoted it as an empire-wide holiday.[33] With the growing popularity of the Christianity, Jesus of Nazareth came to be given much of the recognition previously given to a sun god, thereby including Christ in the tradition.[34] This was later condemned by the early Catholic Church for associating Christ with pagan practices.[citation needed]

Soyal (Zuni and Hopi of North America)

Soyalangwul is the winter solstice ceremony of the Zuni and the Hopitu Shinumu, "The Peaceful Ones," also known as the Hopi. It is held on December 21, the shortest day of the year. The main purpose of the ritual is to ceremonially bring the sun back from its long winter slumber. It also marks the beginning of another cycle of the Wheel of the Year, and is a time for purification. Pahos (prayer sticks) are made prior to the Soyal ceremony, to bless all the community, including their homes, animals, and plants. The kivas (sacred underground ritual chambers) are ritually opened to mark the beginning of the Kachina season.[35][36]


We Tripantu (Mapuche in southern Chile)

We Tripantu (Mapudungun tr: new sunrise) is the conclusion of the Mapuche New Year that takes place between June 21 and June 24 in the Gregorian calendar.[37] It is the Mapuche's equivalent to the Inti Raymi. The ancestral incertidubre stayed up throughout the year's longest night with anxiety that the next day would not come. After three days it became clear that the winter was diminishing. The Pachamama (Quechua tr: Mother Earth), Nuke Mapu (uke' Mapu) begins to bloom fertilized by Sol[disambiguation needed], from the Andean heights to the southern tip. Antu (Pillan), Inti (Aymara), or Rapa[disambiguation needed] (rapanui) Sol, the sun starts to come back to earth, after the longest night of the year: it's winter Solstice. Todo start to bloom again.[38]


Yule, Jul, Jól, Joul, Joulu, Jõulud, Géol, Geul (Viking Age, Northern Europe, Germanic cultures)

Icelandic manuscript depicting Odin who slew the frost giant, Ymir.
Originally the name Giuli signified a 60 day tide beginning at the lunar midwinter of the late Scandinavian Norse and West Germanic tribes. The arrival of Juletid thus came to refer to the midwinter celebrations. By the late Viking Age, the Yule celebrations came to specify a great solstitial Midwinter festival that amalgamated the traditions of various midwinter celebrations across Europe, like Mitwinternacht, Modrasnach, Midvinterblot, and the Teutonic solstice celebration, Feast of the Dead. A documented example of this is in 960, when King Håkon of Norway signed into law that Jul was to be celebrated on the night leading into December 25, to align it with the Christian celebrations. For some Norse sects, Yule logs were lit to honor Thor, the god of thunder. Feasting would continue until the log burned out, three or as many as twelve days. The indigenous lore of the Icelandic Jól continued beyond the Middle Ages, but was condemned when the Reformation arrived. The celebration continues today throughout Northern Europe and elsewhere in name and traditions, for Christians as representative of the nativity of Jesus on the night of December 24, and for others as a cultural winter celebration on the 24th or for some, the date of the solstice.[39][40]

Yule, Jul (Germanic Neopaganism)

In Germanic Neopagan sects, Yule is celebrated with gatherings that often involve a meal and gift giving. Further attempts at reconstruction of surviving accounts of historical celebrations are often made, a hallmark being variations of the traditional. However it has been pointed out that this is not really reconstruction as these traditions never died out – they have merely removed the Christian elements from the celebration and replaced the event at the solstice.
The Icelandic Ásatrú and the Asatru Folk Assembly in the US recognize Jól or Yule as lasting for 12 days, beginning on the date of the winter solstice.[41]

Yule (Wiccan; Druidic}

In Wicca, Yule is observed as one of eight solar holidays, or Sabbat. In most Wiccan groups or covens, Yule marks the rebirth of the Great God in the form of the solstice sun. Although the name Yule may have been appropriated from Germanic and Norse paganism, elements of the celebration are of modern origin.
The root of the celebration is the northern Eurasian Indo-European celebration of the birth of Lugh or Odin. It was a time of great fires and festivities. Saint Patrick seemed to not be concerned that Irish Druidism and Christianity were mirrors of each other. The Sun was central to the Celtic religion because all life and existence relies on it, and the pursuit of the setting and rising sun were of great interest. In Irish legend the sun is born as one of a trinity. The other two are killed by Balor, their grandfather Winter. It marks the turning of the year and the beginning of the cycle. Lugh rises to power in spring and is the son, upon marrying the Earth Britta, Birgitta, Bridget, or Brigantia he becomes the father, personified in the Norse Odin. In autumn, Lugh dies to become a ghost, Balor. Each incarnation of the ghost tries to kill the next incarnation of the son or Sun. The period between the marriage of the Earth and the Sun is approximately nine months.


Zagmuk, Sacaea (Ancient Mesopotamia, Sumerian, Babylonian)

Adapting the Egyptian Osiris Celebrations, the Babylonians held the annual renewal or new year celebration, the Zagmuk Festival. It lasted 10 days overlapping either the winter solstice or vernal equinox in its center peak. It was a festival held in observation of the sun god Marduk's battle over darkness. The Babylonians held both land and river parades. Sacaea, as Berossus referred to it, had festivals characterized with a subversion of order leading up to the new year. Masters and slaves interchanged, a mock king was crowned and masquerades clogged the streets. This has been a suggested precursor to the Festival of Kronos, Saturnalia and possibly Purim.[42][43]

Ziemassvētki (Latvian, Baltic, Romuva)

In ancient Latvia, Ziemassvētki, meaning winter festival, was celebrated on December 21 as one of the two most important holidays, the other being Jāņi. Ziemassvētki celebrated the birth of Dievs, the highest god of Latvian mythology. The two weeks before Ziemassvetki are called Veļu laiks, the "season of ghosts." During the festival, candles were lit for Dieviņš and a fire kept burning until the end, when its extinguishing signaled an end to the unhappiness of the previous year. During the ensuing feast, a space at the table was reserved for Ghosts, who was said to arrive on a sleigh. During the feast, certain foods were always eaten: bread, beans, peas, pork and pig snout and feet. Carolers (Budeļi) went door to door singing songs and eating from many different houses. The holiday was later adapted by Christians in the middle ages. It is now celebrated on the 24th, 25th and 26 December and largely recognized as both a Christian and secular cultural observance. Lithuanians of the Romuva religion continue to celebrate a variant of the original polytheistic holiday.

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