The origins of Yule-tide

Yule is an ancient Germanic tradition celebrated around the winter solstice, which is mostly celebrated today by Pagans – while the more commonly celebrated Christmas traditions are followed by Christians. The Welsh Witch’s Guide to Yule will help explain deeper the ancient traditions Yule holds, as well as ways you can attune with your inner witch to honour this sacred time. With roots in Norse mythology, the tradition favours activities such as honouring light, celebrating the progress of the year and coming together in communities to eat delicious food and drink in the new year. Learn how to celebrate Yule with our ideas and festive tips. 

Since the festive celebration of Yule occurs after the shortest day of the year on the 21st of December to the 1st of January, it serves as a way to welcome in the longer days and appreciate the cyclical nature of the year passing. The celebration lasts twelve days. This is traditionally where the 12 days of Christmas comes from! You’d be surprised how many modern-day Christian traditions are inherited from Pagan celebrations and rituals. One of them being Christmas dinner – in ancient times, animals like cattle often didn’t survive the long and cold winters, meaning that there would be a surplus of meat in the Yule-tide time of the year. This made it easier to eat nutrient-dense meals (oftentimes meat) during this time. These traditions can be seen today in the feasts consumed on Christmas Day. Are you a traditional dinner eater, or do you like to shake it up and eat something totally different?

How can I celebrate Yule?

There are many ways traditionally how to celebrate Yule. Pagans around the world choose different rituals and practices. If you’re a new baby witch that’s intrigued by the traditions, these methods might be a good starting-place if you’re not sure what to try. 

Host a party to eat with friends

One of the main ways to celebrate Yule is to do what they did in ancient times! This one many people already do during the festive season anyway: coming together with your community of friends and family and enjoy a feast of different foods. Maybe create a themed evening where everybody brings a different type of dish and you share them out. Or you could try a colour-themed evening – everyone brings a different coloured dish – orange for example could include a curry, a tagine, carrot cake etc. Make it fun, that’s all part of the experience. The wackier the better – consider providing a prize for the most inventive addition! Check out our selection of premium botanical spirits with deep-rooted traditional pagan ingredients and processes for some extra Yule-tide sparkle. 

Being present and remembering the pagan roots of getting together with loved ones will reinforce the importance of these traditions and the community spirit they cultivate when connecting with others over food and drinks. 

Decorate with nature

Find some time during the winter solstice to honour the falling of leaves, the smell of evergreens, the appearance of mistletoe. Try crafting a wreath out of dried leaves and branches; give thanks to the earth for growing them and knowing they will return again next year during the rebirth in spring. Decorate your Yule tree! This tradition is also falsely attributed to Christianity, but actually stems from Paganism. It is ritualistic within Pagan households to honour the tree (sourced ethically and sustainably) by decorating it with lights, handmade ornaments with symbology and natural ingredients such as dried oranges and cinnamon. 

At Welsh Witch HQ we love using dried oranges in our products, around our house and just about everywhere during Yule!

Practice journaling or meditating in the winter solstice

The winter, for many, is a time for reflection and turning inwards. Finding ways to connect with your inner voice is important in honouring the sacredness of these months; what are you grateful for this year? What have you achieved this year? What do you hope to bring with you into the new solstice? Let us know your favourite journal prompts over on our instagram @welshwitch_craftspirits.

Take some time to relax, breathe deeply and connect with the earth around you, thank nature for doing its thing and providing life and nourishment. Write down any thoughts that come to you and honour your voice without judgement. 

Perform a Light Ritual

moon-charge-your-lifeOur Welsh Witch candles are a perfect addition to any witch’s altar!

One of the most important parts of Yule is honouring the presence of light and the gratitude for all it provides. String lights up in your home or safe space, light candles around you and bathe in the light, appreciating its warmth and comfort. Perhaps you might want to spend an evening without electricity, to honour its power and enjoy living by candlelight like our ancient ancestors did. This is a great way to cultivate gratitude by taking away something so readily available for us now, and stripping it back to a much more purposeful way of living for a while. When you switch your lights back on, use it as a way to celebrate the start of the new year and the light it will bring. 


However you choose to celebrate Yule, whether you want to go all in and provide a Winter Solstice feast for your nearest and dearest, or if you just want to light  a few candles and journal on the year’s events, that’s up to you. Paganism encourages you to honour your body and act intuitively, doing what feels right for you. Though if you do find yourself hosting a yummy banquet, might we point you in the direction of our award-winning spirits, perfect to adorn your Yule-tide spread with unique flavours and crafted from the soul. 

We hope you have a magical festive season, however you choose to celebrate.

And we thank you for joining us on our magical journey this year. Here’s to a happy and healthy 2024!