‘Yule’ celebrates the Winter Solstice

It’s a celebration of brighter days to come
Published: Dec. 21, 2021 at 5:53 PM CST
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DAVENPORT, Iowa (KWQC) - Yule is the celebration of the return of light, and the celebration is a time to reflect on the year, and look forward as daylight starts increasing by just a few seconds each day starting Wednesday.

“Lighting candles, having a fire, so you have that warmth, that glow of that promise of what’s coming.” Yule is a Pagan holiday that is observed on the Winter Solstice every year, generally celebrated by Germanic peoples.

“We celebrate the returning of the light. So, it’s the shortest day of the year. So we embrace the stillness and darkness that is today, but then also the hope that tomorrow brings, that tomorrow will be a little longer. We’re going to have a little bit more daylight. Things are starting to come back and, you know, the promise of spring is coming,” said Diana Schneider, a member of the congregation at Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Quad Cities.

The Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Quad Cities in Davenport holds an annual “Solstice Service” to celebrate Yule. Normally people would fill the seats in the sanctuary for live music, poetry readings and quiet mediation and reflection.

However, the pandemic has moved this year’s celebration virtual for the second year in a row. “We’ll have opportunities for people to tell us what they have been thinking about this year, how this year has gone for them, what they’re reflecting on, what they’re looking forward to,” said Schneider.

Pagan holidays often times coincide with Christian holidays, such as Christmas.

“Think of it as the Jesus metaphor of you know, Jesus being born. It’s the same with the sun. The sun is being reborn and being, coming back,” said Schneider.

Daylight coming back, signaling brighter days ahead. “Solstice is one of my favorite holidays to celebrate. So my kids got to open their Solstice presents this morning. So they were very excited. They like having, getting to open at least one a little bit early,” said Schneider.

Similar to a Christmas tree, gifts are placed under a lighted Yule Tree.

“We have a little sun baby who is representing the sun god who is being reborn. So he sits in his little cauldron with his little wreath of gold garland until tonight when we take him out. And then the sun is reborn and we look forward to spring,” said Schneider.

This year’s Solstice Service was held virtually over Zoom, but the church hopes to return to “in-person” next year.

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