Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Why I celebrate both Yule and Christmas

ChicagoLady said...
Just curious. Since you yourself state you're a pagan, why do you celebrate Christmas? I understand celebrating Yule, because you've explained the meaning behind that. But Christmas is about celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ. If you're a pagan, then wouldn't you NOT believe in God and the fact that he sent his son to earth as a man to die for us?

I decided to answer the comment in an actual post rather than it would be a bit long for a comment, so made more sense to start up a post for it.

You're right, ChicagoLady. I don't believe in God, and I don't agree with the celebration of the birth of 'Jesus Christ' whom I also do not believe existed. Therefore, your question not only failed to take me by surprise, but I have been waiting for someone to ask it since last December when I first mentioned that I celebrate both Yule and Christmas.

So, why then do I celebrate both Yule and Christmas? Well, I'll tell you.

Until I was sixteen, my beliefs were kept quiet from the rest of the family. The family celebrated Christmas, so I did. Simple as that. Then I began to let my family know of my beliefs. But, my parents, my siblings, and basically the rest of the family (excluding my hubby, my uncle Phillip and my Auntie Bev) have different beliefs, so they celebrate Christmas. Most of them don't even know what Yule is.

At first, before I met Kelly and got married, I would celebrate Yule by myself. I 'd open gifts from friends on Yule, but left those from family until Christmas. My parents would have noticed if I'd opened the stuff from them, and I didn't want to cause arguments. Then, after Kelly and I got married, we started celebrating Yule together. We'd open the gifts from our friends and most of the stuff from each other at Yule, then celebrating Christmas with the rest of the family, keeping a gift or two for each other to exchange while the family is around. It just seemed easier.

I would prefer to just celebrate Yule. To forget about the holidays that have nothing to do with what I believe. To let Yule and Ostara become more of a priority and ignore Christmas and Easter... The holidays that symbolise all those things I don't believe happened. But I don't want to cause arguments. As it is, it was only last year that I was able to persuade my Mam that in celebrating Yule I wouldn't be taking away the whole gift giving holiday from my kids if I were to celebrate just Yule.

That's as best as I can explain my reasons. Hope that answers your question.

Tori

10 comments:

Debby said...

Makes perfect sense to me

KAYLEE said...

MAKES SENSE:P

Kati said...

I think keeping the peace in one's family is a perfectly fine reason to celebrate a holiday that one doesn't personally believe in. And for that matter, a great many of the symbols of christmas (tree, holly, wreaths, candles) came from the pagan relgion. Except for a lack of a baby in a manger & a fat man in a red suit, most of the things one would find among the Christmas decorations could also be found among the yule decorations. *shrug* I see nothing wrong with celebrating both. And, for many these days, Christmas is no longer simply about the birth of Jesus (which didn't likely take place in winter, in the first place), but more about sharing pleasant activities (cookie baking!) and exchanging gifts with the folks one loves.

You do what works best for you & your fam. Don't let the grouches spoil your plans.

ChicagoLady said...

Thank you for your explanation about celebrating Christmas. And I understand not wanting to upset the family by not celebrating it. But you're also an adult now, and even though I don't know about Kelly's beliefs, I would think you'd allow any children you may have to make their own decision about what they believe, as you did. It's unfortunate that you aren't able to just spend the time with your family while they open Christmas presents, without you actually having to pretend to celebrate it. Which is what you do.

Tori_Z said...

Thanks Debby and Kaylee

Kati:
I couldn't agree more. If Christmas was still as much of a religeous holiday as it used to be, I would be less likely to agree to partisipate. But, as it is, the few things that most people remember when thinking of Christmas appear in Yule also (appart from 'jolly old saint Nick' though he did, in some form, appear in something I read last year).

By the way, thanks for dropping by and posting on my blog.

ChicagoLady:
Kelly's beliefs are quite simular to mine. And, you are correct. The paths my children choose in life are their choice. If they choose to believe that the story of the baby Jesus being born on Christmas day is true. So be it. Their life, their choice. That's all there is to it. I will, of course, teach them of my beliefs. Just as they will be given the opertunity to learn about other beliefs. Most schools touch upon the main religeons nowadays (though, they still seem to forget that Paganism exists) and if my children choose to follow one of those they learn about at school (or anywhere else for that matter) then I will support them in that decision. All I would ask of them is that they refraim from attempting to convert me to whatever religeon they happen to choose.

Tori_Z said...

As for the bit about the gifts.

Until last year, we avoided confrontation and just kept things quiet. However, I was able to persuade my Mam to hear me out last year, so I'm hoping that this year wwe will be able to come up with a way that we can celebrate the way we choose while still keeping the peace.

The idea that's being tossed around at the moment, is that we have the gifts from one another and from friends (and extended family who can't be with us to celebrate anyway) at Yule. The rest of the family celebrates the way they wish on Christmas day. Then, on the day after Christmas, me have a buffet here for those family members who can make it (like my parents and siblings) while we exchange the gifts we got for them and they got from us. If that makes sense.

Tori_Z said...

By the way, if you're wondering why it's them coming to us. They have cars (Dad drives and Mam is learning to, so even family members who can't drive can be picked up). Where as, we don't. And, it would make more sense for them to drive down here, stay here for a few hours, then go home than it would for them to drive down here, pick us up, drive back to their place, then bring us back later. Why do four trips when they can do just two?

Tori_Z said...

Kati:
I remembered reading about "the Yule Elf" back in December, and was sure I'd posted something on the subject. So, I looked through my old posts, and found what I was looking for.

The following is taken from a post that contains information I copied from a web site (unfortunately, I don't recall the web site the information came from).

Santa Claus / Father Christmas / St. Nicholas / Kris Kringle

Santa Claus is many things! He is jolly Jupiter, a smiling Saturn and the Old God on his way to rebirth. Norse and Germanic peoples have told stories for centuries of how the Yule Elf - Kris Kringle - brings gifts on the Solstice to those who leave him offerings of porridge. In the guise of St. Nicholas he is a pagan deity who was absorbed into the Christian tradition. The Yule Elf wears red or green (the traditional colours of fertility), has a well-fed belly (the envy of our ancestors during winter), sports a burly beard (a symbol of male sexual maturity) and a crown of leaves (the sign of spring's return).

Reindeer & Goats

It is uncertain where the idea of reindeer towing a sleigh truly came from but there's the Julbock or Julbukk or Yule Goat from Sweden and Norway, who had his beginnings as the carrier for the God Thor. Now though, the Yule Goat carries the Yule Elf when he makes his rounds to deliver presents and receive his offering of porridge.

ChicagoLady said...

Tori,

One more question I have not been able to find the answer to by reading your posts or profile...when and how did you decide to be Wiccan/Pagan?

I hope I have not come across as a "grouch," that was certainly never my intention, I was just being curious.

Tori_Z said...

ChicagoLady:
I never mentioned how I chose my path because nobody asked me. I have some free time tomorrow, so I will do a post to answer your question.

And, no, you aren't coming across as a grouch. I have no problem with you being curious, and if I did, I would say so.