Wednesday, April 29, 2015

A to Z Challenge -- Y -- LOG, GRAVEYARD, AND A DAY


YEW -- English Yew is a long lived tree found in many graveyards across Great Britain and many predate the churches, which may have roots in Druid groves.  It was a sacred tree to the Druids.  It was a symbol for immortality, death and rebirth.  It can live for 1000 years or more.  There are estimates that some trees are even 4000 years old!  It is one of the oldest known species of tree. Weapon handles were made from its wood.  Its a poisonous plant.  It has connections to the Otherworld.

YULE -- It is celebrated on the Winter Solstice, around December 21.  It is the rebirth of the God as one of the eight Sabbats of the Wheel of the Year.  Many of the Christmas traditions come from this holiday, including the hanging of mistletoe and the Yule log.

The Yule log was burned to celebrate the the rebirth of the sun.

Many cultures shared this celebration in different forms like the Egyptians, Celts, Norse (Juul), Romans (Saturnalia), and Germanic tribes.

The burning of the Yule log is a tradition that has been carried on for at least a thousand year or more.  A piece from the old Yule log (kept for protection through the year) kindles the new Yule log after a piece is taken from it for the next.  There are certain rituals and superstitions about how the log is decorated and received, but I'm not going to get into them.

YEAR AND A DAY -- December 23.  The Druid lunar months consisted of 28 days in each of the 13 months.  It was used in courts of law.  Mistletoe rules this day, which was called All Heal, Golden Bough and a few other names.

Disclaimer: None of these pictures belong to me.  I found them on Google.

14 comments:

  1. Anther person using Yule for their Y! And Yews were beautiful, and a little sad too. Maybe because of the graveyard association.

    Good luck with the A to Z Challenge!
    A to Z Co-Host S. L. Hennessy
    http://pensuasion.blogspot.com/

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    1. it's not the only tree associated with graveyards, but its a living record of all those that died. Just imagine a tree that has seen a millennium go by and has endured.

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  2. Christmas in Swedish is still called "Jul", which I think is cool. And hooray for the Yew tree! *high five*

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    1. cool! I didn't know that. I learned something too.

      Woo! *high five back at ya!*

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  3. Mistletoe popping up a lot. Now when did the kissing tradition start? I think yews are marvellous, gotta admire something that has clung on to life that long.

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    1. History channel's article says that a secondary version of the story of baldur's death was partly responsible. In this secondary story it say that baldur was resurrected and frigg said that mistletoe was the plant of love (even though it killed him to begin with through Loki) and she would kiss anyone underneath it.

      The modern tradition may come from the saturnalia and from marriage and rites of peace between enemies. In the 1800s it was written about by Washington Irving. They would take a berry off the plant for every kiss and it ended when all the berries were gone.

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  4. I knew that about the Yule log. The tree is something I know of but have never seen. That would be amazing to see a tree that old.

    ~Patricia Lynne aka Patricia Josephine~
    Member of C. Lee's Muffin Commando Squad
    Story Dam
    Patricia Lynne, Indie Author

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    1. I've seen the redwoods in California. They are so awe inspiring and mystical. I bet a yew would have that same feel to it.

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  5. Interesting stuff! I always find it fascinating to learn about our holidays and where all the traditions originally came from.

    One more post, Djinnia! I hope we can keep in touch after the Challenge.

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    1. I just got les mis stuck in my head. One day more! Another day another destiny!

      Heh heh heh.

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  6. We used to have a yew in our churchyard at Chilham - it was very old, but it fell over in a huge storm. The stump remained though.
    Tasha
    Tasha's Thinkings | Wittegen Press | FB3X (AC)

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    1. i bet it was beautiful. Trees like yews and oaks don't grow where i am. It's too hot and dry.

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  7. I read about the Yule log tradition recently in The Faerie Tree by Jane Cable. Dropping in from the A to Z, I have given your blog a shout out from my letter Z today.

    @rosieamber1
    Rosie Amber - Book reviewer. Campaigning to link more readers to writers.

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    1. thank you! i'm glad you stopped by!

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