Winter Solstice or Yule in Oslo Norway

Today, a milestone in the calendar, should of course be celebrated on a blog like mine – about the Significant Four Seasons: The Winter Solstice, also directly connected to Yule, sometimes pronounced you all or jol. It’s the shortest day and the longest night of the year. Yule in Old Norse means “Feast” or “Wheel”. In the old Almanacs, the symbol of a wheel was used to mark Yuletide. The idea behind this is that the year turns like a wheel, The Great Wheel of the Zodiac, The Wheel of Life, of which the spokes are the old ritual occasions. By the way in Norwegian wheel is “hjul” pronounced about the same as Yule.

Winter Solstice happens when your hemisphere is leaning farthest away from the sun, and therefore the daylight is the shortest and the sun has its lowest arc in the sky. When it is Winter Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere, the sun is directly overhead at noon only along the Tropic of Capricorn. In Oslo (Latitude of 60° North) today the sun rise at 9:19AM and set 15:12PM and here you see the beautiful scenery out of our widow this morning (taken with my new Nokia N82 – click to enlarge and enjoy!):

Winter Solstice in Norway 2008

I know in most rest of the world you say Christmas about the coming Holiday, but remember Yule has many pagan elements and more pagan history in its foundation and pagan rites than Christianity and has been celebrated since the beginning of time in the Northern Hemisphere. Many of the cultures located in the Northern Hemisphere celebrate Yule, all with a common theme, the birth of a God by the Goddess. Most of these Gods are associated with the Sun or with death and re-birth.

In Norway, work had to be reduced to a minimum, and no wheels were to be turned, for that would show impatience with the great wheel in the sky, the sun. No wonder as Yule has been linked to and may originate from the Old Norse Jōl or Hjól; Wheel. As part of this time – called Julefred; ‘Peace of Christmas’ – neither bird, beast nor fish is trapped, shot or netted. Yule celebrated the death and re-birth of the Sun God and the beginning of longer days, which in some traditions marks the Pagan New Year. And from time immemorial, Yule has been a time of peace and charity.

Those who like to read more about Scandinavian history on Yule traditions, might like to read my earlier posts: ‘Winter Solstice and Yuletide’ (2006) and ‘It was Yule before Christmas!’ (2005).

In Sweden, Norway and Denmark, therefore the term “Jul” is still the most common way to express Christmas, or “Joulu” in Finland. So when you say Marry Christmas, I say God Jul, meaning Good Yule.

33 Comments

  1. God Jul to you and yours Renny. Very interesting history lesson as well.

    Have a terrific day. Big hug to you and Diane. :)

    RennyBA
    Glad you liked it and got it, so God Jul to you and yours too Sandee!
    Wishing you a great one too :)

  2. Hei Renny… wishing you a “God Jul” from England, and hoping you have a wonderful new year too! :)

    RennyBA
    Hei Helga and God Jul og Godt Nytt År to you too :)

  3. God Jul to you and your family! I hope you have a wonderful holiday! We are enjoying the snow and reminding ourselves that there is no bad weather, only bad clothing :)

    RennyBA
    Wishing you and your family the same! I’m happy for you with the snow and of course glad you remember my saying :lol:

  4. God Jul to you and Diane! And god juolu for my daughter who lives in Finland at this time! Love the pink light in the clouds on the picture! Sounds a special atmosphere and luminosity!

    RennyBA
    Thanks Claudie for your Scandinavia greetings and glad you liked the pic too!

  5. “You-all”? Is this in Southern Norway or all over? Just joking, God Jul and Merry Christmas from Tulsa, Oklahoma.

    RennyBA
    Its all over the Land of the Vikings :lol:
    Wishing you the same!

  6. I hope that you had a God Jul. Do you celebrate 25th December at all?

    RennyBA
    Thanks Sue!
    The big ‘day’ is Christmas Eve with a feast, family gathering and presents opening. 25th: more gathering and feasts, read about our Smorgasbord! 26th: More gatherings with friends and families and food delight. So we celebrate three days in a row.

  7. Here we have special cakes called Yule Logs. They are chocolate rolled up with mocha-choc. mousse type frosting in between and are delicious! Do you have those? Happy Solstice! Let’s celebrate more light tomorrow!

    RennyBA
    We don’t have it but I get the concept: and we would call it a roller cake. Diane says it is originally French are they all it: Bouce Nöell.
    Yea; Let’s celebrate tomorrow and the next coming week!

  8. God Yul or Merry Christmas; whatever you call it, I hope you have a happy and joyous holiday season, Renny. :-)

    Much Love,
    Diane

    RennyBA
    Wishing you and the family the same!
    Love and hugs back to you :)

  9. God Jul to you and Diane, Renny. I hope you have a wonderful day with your family. BTW, that’s a beautiful photo of the sunrise at 9.19 am!

    RennyBA
    Thanks Roby and I wish all of you the same – glad you liked the sun rise pic too.

  10. What a beautiful sunrise to greet the winter solstice with, and a very interesting story on its history :-)

    Merry Christmas to you and yours, Renny!

    RennyBA
    I knew you would love it Deborah and glad you found the lesson interesting too :-)
    Wishing you the same!

  11. God Jul to you and to Diane.
    It was a snowy day here yesterday (12 more inches!) and we didn’t stay home, but went out to enjoy the day. We shopped, we had lunch and we just enjoyed the falling snow.
    Wonderful!

    RennyBA
    Thanks Maribeth, and we wish you and Jack the same.
    I envy you as our snow has been wiped away by rain.

  12. A time of peace and charity by any name whatsoever is what it’s all about, Renny! Good Yule to you and yours!!

    RennyBA
    That’s right Ginnie – wishing you and Donica the same!!

  13. Hola Reny!! Desearte unas muy felices fiestas desde España y unas muy feliz navidad. Que sean muy felices con tu familia y que Dios te bendiga

    RennyBA
    Thanks for the visit and comment Maribel

  14. It’s interesting with the old Norse Juletraditions. In many ways we can say it was the beginning of the Nordic Wellfare Model.
    And the French adopted the word, Jol, Joli in modern Frech, from the Vikings 1000 years ago. You can read about it at the end of this post:

    GOD JUL

    PS. The Vikings celebrated Jol on January 12th, But the date was moved to December 25 when Norway was Christianed.

    RennyBA
    I do agree and thanks for your supplement which enriches the subject. I really liked your post too!
    God Jul to you and Anna!

  15. Ok – how bad is that! I know it’s coming, I count down the days and then I neglect it that day… Yeah for longer days.. It was a beautiful evening indeed here! And what a beautiful morning… I’ve got a few photos, but not sure where I will post them yet..

    Happy Solstice to you Renny!

    RennyBA
    Well, Living in Canada, you should notice the change too in the coming weeks too :-)
    Happy Solstice ET!

  16. Pingback: Pages tagged "winter"

  17. Good Yule to you & Diane too Renny and what a wonderful shot there.

    Over the years, Christmas has lost it’s flavour as a result of commercialisation and it is sad that people forgotten about the true meaning of Christmas other than presents ;(

  18. I always look forward to this day cuz I know the days are going to start getting longer.

  19. God Jul to you… it’s interesting: we have in a part of Switzerland an old tradition going on on January 12th, they celebrate the “Late New Year” with a horse pulling a carriage with a lot of cut and pealed pine trees and the boys are making a lot of noise and wishing everybody a happy new year. Must be an old Nordic tradition too.

    I wish you and your family also MERRY CHRISTMAS and a good New Year!
    Susanne

    Sue’s Daily Photography

  20. Jeg ønsker deg og din familie en god jul og et godt nyttår.

  21. wow, that is one breathtaking sky! very nice colors!

  22. Have a Happy and Wonderful Holiday!

  23. In my family also we say God Jul. So from my house to yours– Merry Christmas!

  24. Holidays have many historical meanings … all I know is, Christmas means family and our “own” traditions. They hold thousands of joyous memories for me.

    Happy holidays to you Renny … all the best from this side of the planet to yours :-)

  25. Oh, the sunset is so beautiful. Now you were talking about Yule meaning feast so where is the food?

    It is nice to know the meaning behind so many of our traditions. I never knew this before, thank you so much for sharing this.

    Love and Blessings,
    AngelBaby

  26. Hey, it’s already Christmas Eve for you I imagine. But we’re a day away, and so I can have one more day to finish Christmas preparations. May this Season of Light warm your heart and bring you joy, peace, and love!

  27. Just stopping by to wish you and your family a wonderful Christmas!

  28. Good Yule, Renny!

    I celebrated Yule last Sunday; so it is good to know that you and I share this festivity! :D

    Nevertheless, I wish you Merry Holidays! May 2009 bring you love, joy, peace, and success in whatever you do :D!

    Cheers

  29. Happy Solstice, Yule, and health, happiness and hope for 2009.

  30. Wishing you and your family a Merry Xmas!! *hugs*

  31. It is appreciated that explained some of the terminology involved in communications made during that period of time. The point about most Gods being associated with the sun sounds about right, as the sun is continually a symbol of that which provides energy to our surroundings.

  32. But we’re a day away, and so I can have one more day to finish Christmas preparations.

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