Jul Fest comes to a close, but Jul lingers on!
Jul Fest has been wonderful! We have learned so much and had such a joyous time from Krampus on December 5th all the way to this coming January 6th. Not only was I able to teach five of these festive sessions but also take five sessions. That's ten Jul zooms for me in one month's time. I'm grateful to have had these gatherings to excite and propel my jultid spirit, so easily snuffed out when the news of the world is heavy, resources are limited, and celebrations must be done in isolation.
I feel so privileged to be presenting the final Jul Fest Zoom on January 6, 2021. On the Gregorian calendar, this is the 12th day of Christmas called Epiphany. From the web dictionary, an epiphany is a "sudden manifestation or perception of the essential nature or meaning of something. An intuitive grasp of reality through something (such as an event) usually simple and striking. An illuminating discovery, realization, or disclosure." In Biblical stories, this is when the three wise men, astrologers and kings, give Mary gifts so she can raise her son to be a wise healer, priest, and prophet.
On the Julian calendar, this was the first day of Christmas! The Norwegian Primstav calendar reports that it was a long time before everyone stopped celebrating Christmas on this day. The tradition of revelers going door to door acting out plays for treats, julebukking, and of Wassailing the orchard, house, and hall were done on this day.
In the oldest reckoning, jultid lasted until the full moon after the first new moon after Winter Solstice...on the Gregorian calendar, that would be January 28th! A boar, sonargöltr, was sacrificed and on the bristles of this boar solemn oaths were made. There are many saint days marked on the primstav into January that encourage us to quit celebrating Christmas. So you can see that the folk people understood the importance of carrying on long after the church's recommendation!
We ask jul to come in quite early on so a gradual fare well is in order. On this last Jul Fest Zoom, I will give you some dates and ideas of how to extend your jultid until the end of January. I will teach you some songs to wassail the orchard, house, and hall, a prayer to keep the jul fire burning (but not too high), and we will seek epiphany through runes. By Candle Mass on February 2, we really start to notice how the days are getting longer. But until then, we need more ritual, more ceremony, more inspiration to excite and propel us out of the darkest days of the year. Perhaps your epiphany is just around the corner!