17 Dec 2010

Merry Yule from Middle-Earth

Yule is fast approaching in the Shire and the hobbits are getting ready to celebrate this very special time of the year. We call this time of the year 'Christmas' but it is known as 'Yule' in Middle-earth. The most important thing for hobbits at this time is food- their pantries are well stoked for the long winter with a great supply of cheese, beacon, mushrooms, wine and ale, and of course, the very best pipe-weed they can afford. Yule is a time for families and friends, a time to share not only music, food and stories, but also gifts or mathoms, as the hobbits call them. I've been doing a bit of searching and I did find a Middle-earth inspired little house would look just nice in any Yule stoking

Ancient Yule Lore
Yule or Yule-tide is a winter festival that was initially celebrated by the historical Germanic peoples as a pagan religious festival, though it was later absorbed into the Christian festival of Christmas.Yule, is when the dark half of the year relinquishes to the light half. Starting the next morning at sunrise, the sun climbs just a little higher and stays a little longer in the sky each day. Known as Solstice Night, or the longest night of the year, much celebration was to be had as the ancestors awaited the rebirth of the Oak King, the Sun King, the Giver of Life that warmed the frozen Earth and made her to bear forth from seeds protected through the fall and winter in her womb. Bonfires were lit in the fields, and crops and trees were "wassailed" with toasts of spiced cider

Yule in Middle-earth
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'. After the War of the Ring, there were a considerable shortages of food before Yule in the Shire . 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 Four Farthings, 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)

While the whole world is getting ready to celebrate Christmas, hobbits are busy getting ready for the celebrations of Yule which will take place tomorrow. 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.