Winter Solstice and Yuletide

Updated: Dec 21, 2021



Today, December 21, is Winter Solstice. This is the day when the night is the longest, and the day is the shortest in the whole year, and the time when the light starts slowly returning.


All the way back to the Vikings (and earlier), people in the Nordic countries celebrated the Winter Solstice. The vikings believed that Odin, father of the gods, would ride across the night sky and visit them in their homes (hmm... reminds me of something). They called the celebration for Jul ('Jol' in old Norse). Today, Jul (pronounced Yule) is still the Scandinavian word for Christmas.


So the English word Yuletide that is used in several Christmas carols and songs , translates to the Scandinavian word Juletid, simply meaning "the time of Christmas". In Swedish, father Christmas is called the Jul Tomte (the Yule elf) and he is called Jule manden in Danish and Norwegian. 


All the way back to the Vikings, people in the Nordic countries would celebrate the Midwinter Solstice


There's just something very magical about the change from days getting shorter and shorter, up until this day, after which they'll be getting longer and brighter.


Christmas is just days away now. Busy yes, but I am practicing lots of hygge with my candle lights and Christmas decorations – not too much but certainly also not too little either. In the mornings, I instruct the whole family to gather at least for a few minutes for breakfast. Likewise, in the evening time after dinner, we have to hygge. Admittedly, at this time, I am frequently supplementing candle lights with a few additional Christmas calories and am also helped by some good movies and TV shows. But these ever so short and blissful moments are precious to me.


See all Scandinavian living blog posts here , and learn more about the Norlii box here

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