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I'm sure we have all seen signs that remind us to "remember the reason for the season". These signs are put up every Yuletide by well-meaning people who have forgotten that the season is the reason. Yule is celebrated because of winter, the darkest, coldest season.

Yule is a twelve night festival, starting on Mother Night, December 20. The following night is the winter solstice, the longest night of the year. As Yule continues, the days slowly begin the get longer, and the nights shorter. Yule ends on Twelfth Night, December 31.

Each of the days and nights of Yule can be viewed as a miniature of the months of the year. On Mother Night one can recount the past January and plan for the next January. On the second day of Yule, remember last February and look forward to next February. Continue this way ending with December on Twelfth Night.

During Yule, we honor Thorr for driving back the frost etins, Frey to give us prosperity in the coming year, Odinn as leader of the Wild Hunt, and our Ancestors. During Yule, we are closest to the dead. Death surrounds us, the dead flowers and plants that were so alive a few months ago. The trees all appear dead, except for the evergreens.

We decorate an evergreen tree with sunwheels, runes, items of food such as cranberries and popped corn, and bright pretty things, to remind us of the eternity of Yggdrasil, the World Tree, as it lasts throughout the winter's Ever Green.

During the twelve nights of Yule, we burn a Yule log, give gifts, and feast (especially on ham and pork, which are sacred to Frey).

In days of old, our ancestors would swear their oaths for the coming year (remembered today as the weaker New Year's resolutions) on the sacred boar on Twelfth Night. Now, it is our Kindred tradition to swear our oaths on a sunwheel, and then toss it into the fire as a part of our yearly Yule party.

On Twelfth Night, we take down our Yule trees and pack up our Yule decorations for the year. This is the end of Yule and the old year. We save the trunk of the Yule tree for next year's Yule Log. Now we turn our attention to making it through the rest of the winter, and the rest of the New Year.