4 Dec 2009

Yule in the Shire

Yule in the Shire is not one day, but two which correspond with the end of the old year and the beginning of the new one, so that the last day of the year is Yule 1 and the first day of the new year is Yule 2. Both Yuledays fall between the time called Foreyule (December) and the time called Afteryule (January).

Yule time is one of the two main holidays in the Shire (the other being the midsummer holiday called Lithe.) The Yule celebrations are incredibly important for the hobbits, they last six days in total, including the two days before and the two days after the Yuledays. This time is called Yuletide, and its dedicated to feasting, big parties, food, music, stories and merriment. Hobbits come together, young and old, and celebrate in style. the word Yule comes from the word yoole which developed from the Old English term geōl which does probably mean 'renewal' or 'rebirth', but doubts still remain on the meaning of this very ancient word.

After the War of the Ring, the Shire folks did it fear that the Yule celebrations would be rather sad due to shortages of food . But hobbit are clever and they discovered a large quantity of provisions and beer in the tunnels of Michel Delving and in the quarries at Scary and in other places around the Shire, so they did manage to have a jolly good time at Yuletide.

"Great stores of goods and food, and beer, were found that had been hidden away from the ruffians in sheds and barns and deserted holes, and especially in tunnels at Michel Delving and in the old quarries at Scary; so that there was a great deal better cheer that Yule than anyone had hoped for." (J.R.R.Tolkien -The Return of the King)

Elves do not have a celebration at midwinter, at least not one that can be compared to Yule. The people of Rohan do celebrate the midwinter festival as their ancestors the Northmen had done. The name of the holiday in Rohan is not known but it was most likely similar to "Yule." This is indeed a very special time of the year in Middle-earth with traditional decorations, warm cider and strong beer, rich banquets and music and dance. Yule is a time of hope across Middle-earth, from me on Once Upon A Hobbit, warm wishes to you all of a joyous and happy Yuletide.

Light descents on Middle-earth,
All is calm in the softenss of the snow
Hobbits dancing by the fire,
And the lanterns are all a-glow...

Yuletide Blessings from Lei The Hobbit :)