On our tenth day of the 12 Days of Christmas, please welcome author Linda McLaughlin to the blog today to talk about Yule.
First I want to thank Lisa Chalmers for inviting me to post on her blog today. I hope you’ve been enjoying her 12 Days of Christmas blogs as much as I have.
Tomorrow is the Winter Solstice, also known as Yule. Astrologically speaking, it’s the day when the sun is at its lowest altitude above the horizon. It also signifies the shortest day and longest night of the year in the northern hemisphere. We understand now that this is caused by the position of the earth relative to the sun, but primitive man knew only that the days grew shorter until the Winter Solstice, then the trend reversed. So it has long been a day of celebration, the last festival before the coldest part of winter.
In Rome, this holiday was called Saturnalia, in honor of Saturn, father of the gods. (Not coincidentally, the Winter Solstice is when the sun enters the zodiacal sign Capricorn, which is ruled by the planet Saturn.)
Yule was celebrated by the Norse and Celts before the Christianization of Europe. Many of our northern European traditions are derived from Yule, symbolized by the rebirth of the Sun on the longest night of the year. Bonfires were lit and toasts drunk. Wassail, holly, mistletoe and the Yule log are familiar themes. Romans feasted and gave gifts during Saturnalia. Traditional carols feature Yule symbols, as in The Holly and the Ivy, Deck the Halls, and Here We Come A-Wassailing.
Here are some links with more information on Yule:
The Roman Catholic Church set Christmas a little later than Yule to distinguish it from the pagan festivals, but slowly co-opted the older holiday and incorporated many of the traditions. Christmas remained a lavish and joyous celebration throughout the Middle Ages, but the Protestant Reformation brought some changes. The more severe sects, like the English Puritans, banned Christmas altogether because of its pagan and Catholic history. Alina K. Field talked about that in her post on Dec. 10: http://www.lisa-chalmers.com/12-days-of-christmas-alina-field/. As she explains, Christmas in the Regency era wasn’t as lavish as we might think. That required Victorian excess.
The publication of Charles Dickens’s wildly popular A Christmas Carol in 1843 revived the holiday in a big way. At about the same time, Queen Victoria’s husband, Prince Albert, introduced the German custom of the Christmas tree to England, and the traditional Christmas we all expect began to be realized.
This year, I wrote my first ever holiday story for an anthology.
The Best Present
by Linda McLaughlin
Ten-year-old Allison Harcourt’s life has been turned upside down since her father lost his job and her beloved grandmother died. She’s not looking forward to Christmas, especially since she can’t figure out how to finish the scarf she’s making for her mother. An unexpected stop in Sweetwater Springs brings her and her parents to the boarding house of the widow Murphy. Sometimes sweet things can be found in the most unexpected places.
The Best Present is part of Sweetwater Springs Christmas: A Montana Sky Short Story Anthology by Debra Holland and Friends: E. Ayers, Linda Carroll-Bradd, MJ Fredrick, Paty Jager, Jill Marie Landis, Trish Milburn, Linda McLaughlin, Bev Pettersen, Tori Scott, Cynthia Woolf
Come celebrate the holidays in 1895 Sweetwater Springs, Montana, as ten Western Romance authors join New York Times Bestselling author DEBRA HOLLAND in telling SHORT STORIES of love and laughter, heartbreak and healing, and most of all, Christmas joy.
Buy link: http://amzn.com/B00G06W3SA
Linda McLaughlin grew up with a love of history fostered by her paternal grandmother and an incurable case of wanderlust inherited from her father. She has traveled extensively within the United States and has visited Mexico, Canada, & Australia. A lifelong dream came true with a trip to England where she was able to combine sightseeing and theater with research for her novels. A native of Pittsburgh, she now lives in Southern California with her husband.
Her first book was Worth The Risk by Lyn O’Farrell. Now Linda writes historical and Regency romance. She loves transporting her readers into the past where her characters learn that, in the journey of life, love is the sweetest reward.
She also writes steamy to erotic romance under the name Lyndi Lamont.
Connect with Linda online:
Blogs: Flights of Fancy http://flightsafancy.blogspot.com
Lyndi’s Love Notes: http://www.lyndilamont.com/blog
Linda McLaughlin http://www.facebook.com/LindaMcLaughlinAuthor
Lyndi Lamont http://www.facebook.com/LyndiLamont