An Ever Green and Ever Living Yuletide
IN THIS virtual Yule card from National Socialist Germany, we hear the modern band Of the Wand and the Moon singing “We Are Dust.” In one section, the voice of a distraught woman is heard, saying “I want to die” — a tragically common sentiment among White people today, trapped in a religious / political/ economic System that hates us and which is dedicated to our destruction. But the music turns redemptive and triumphant, just as the imagery gives us hope that there has been and can be again a better way to live — a path forward which will allow us to transcend and defeat the Winter in our nations and in our souls. Look at the Yule season, and Yule traditions of the evergreen or ever-living tree in that light, and take hope. Spring is coming, and soon — our labors shall not be in vain!
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DATING BACK centuries before Christianity was forced on White people, cultures brought evergreen trees, plants, and leaves into their homes upon the arrival of the Winter Solstice, which occurs in the northern hemisphere between December 21st and 22nd. Although the specific practices were different in each country and culture, the symbolism was generally the same: The evergreen plants were used to celebrate the return of life at the beginning of winter’s apparent decline.
The ancient Egyptians, proved to be more closely related to Europeans than to other racial groups, particularly valued evergreens as a symbol of life’s victory over death. They brought green date palm leaves into their homes around the time of the Winter Solstice.
The Romans had a public festival called Saturnalia, which lasted one week beginning on December 17th, and included a variety of celebrations centered around the Winter Solstice. Curiously, the Roman solstice was marked as December 25th on the Julian calendar. These celebrations are thought to have eventually merged with northern pagan practices of hanging mistletoe and the burning of the Yule log.
In Britain, the Yule log was originally seen as a magical object. In Italy the Yule log is still burned for the Festa di Ceppo. In Catalonia, the log is wrapped in a blanket until the evening of December 24th, when it’s unwrapped and burned for the custom of fer cagar el tio. And in Serbia, families bring the Yule log (known as a badnjak) into their homes on the 24th to be burned along with prayers to God to bring happiness, luck, and prosperity.
Druid priests in Britain also used evergreen plants and mistletoe in pagan ceremonies, and the mistletoe plant was the symbol of the birth of a god. Celtic Druids, and Norseman of Scandinavia, also used mistletoe in mysterious ceremonies just after the solstice.
In the mid 1500s, Germans began using evergreen trees as a symbol of hope for the coming of spring. This practice is likely to have gradually evolved from pagan rituals of the past, and merged with the celebrations of today.
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