Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Meaning of Yule

Merry Vex-mas. Today, quite fittingly, I've been checking out the word Yule. I was thinking that maybe the Y might substitute for J making it another ju-word - as in Jew/Dieu as I've mentioned in posts before, or as in July/Julius as I've likewise mentioned.

Anyway, in literally the first paragraph of the Wikipedia page for Yule we get this line;
The earliest references to Yule are by way of indigenous Germanic month names Ærra Jéola (Before Yule) or Jiuli and Æftera Jéola (After Yule).
Almost instantly we come across this strange fact that Germanic folk used to have a mid-winter month named Jéola or Jiuli, as opposed to our mid-summer month July. And we get the J-spelling as well to boot.

Incidentally, in Denmark, Norway and Sweden Yule is also rendered Jul.

Further down on the Wikipedia page we then get this;
Among many others, the long-bearded god Odin bears the names jólfaðr (Old Norse 'Yule father') and jólnir (Old Norse 'the Yule one').
'Yule father' reminds me a little bit of Ju-pater (pater meaning father) - Jupiter. The long-beard reminds me of Father Christmas (: - maybe there was an overlap between all these gods?

If you can call Father Christmas a god that is.

Also, I've mentioned before that Lammas Day, August 1st was known as Gule of August in medieval England and Scotland. Maybe at some point in history Yule was a biannual thing, occurring in both summer and winter, hence the July months in both summer and Germanic winter.

Julius Season.

Incidentally, I was also reading about Mōdraniht - "Mothers'-Night", an event held by pagan Anglo-Saxons on what is now Christmas Eve. Very little is known about it and the main source for it is the historian Bede (who I'm generally sceptical of). Anyway, I was thinking of bringing it back for all the stressed-out-by-Christmas women I know - Vex-mas :p

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