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  • Jul (Christmas) or Jól - The traditions that were Christianized

Jul (Christmas) or Jól - The traditions that were Christianized

Jul (Christmas) or Jól

Jul (Christmas) or Jól is an old tradition where people worshiped and sacrificed to the gods, especially Odin (Wodan).
It can be traced all the way back to the Germanic people (500-400 BC,),
but like many other pagan festivities and traditions, Christmas was also Christianized and transformed into the Christmas we know today.

However, there are many of the old traditions that are still alive when we celebrate Christmas:
We decorate our home with straw Christmas bucks. The Vikings did this to honor the god Thor and his two goats Tandgrisner and Tandgnjost, who pulled his chariot across the sky.
Until the 19th century, it was actually goats that brought the Christmas presents to the children, and in Finland Santa Claus is called “joulupukki”, which literally means Christmas goat.

Another tradition from the Viking Age is the Christmas ham. It symbolizes Særimner, which was eaten every night in Valhalla and which resurfaced after dinner.
Today, the pig is enjoyed as pork roast, Christmas ham, marzipan pig etc.

For the Vikings, Jól was strongly associated with Odin, who was also called Jól father or Father Christmas.
It was at this last time of the year that one could see Odin riding his eight-legged horse Slejpner across the sky and visiting people in their homes.
He is very reminiscent of the Santa Claus we know today. Christmas eventually became synonymous with Christmas, and the Christmas father was replaced by the cheerful image of Santa Claus.

The Vikings' Christmas also lasted for 3 days. The countrymen gathered at the sacrificial sites, and everyone brought food.
Livestock was sacrificed, including horses. The blood of the sacrificial animals (hlaut) was collected in vessels (hlautbolli) and smeared around the temple and the sacrificial site with sacrificial twigs (aspergills).

It was also dripped over the icons of the gods, carved in wood, as well as all the participants of the Christmas party.

A fire was lit and the meat of the animals was prepared for food, which, along with the beer and all the other offerings, was blessed. Then four bowls were handed out:

One bowl for "Odin for victory and power for the king",
"A toast to Njord and Frey for a good harvest and peace",
"A toast to the king".
"Last bowl is in memory of the deceased."

In a poetic poem from the 10th century, the expression "drinking Christmas" is found - so beer drinking was very important at the time.

King Haakon I of Norway ruled from 934 - 961, and it was he who made Norway Christian.
He planned the new Christian worship services so that they coincided with the old Christmas traditions.
To secure support, he hid his own creed at first, but when he gained a solid foothold in power, he preached the gospel.
His great popularity led many compatriots to be baptized, and some renounced the asceticism.

Many modern Ace believers have since rediscovered Christmas for themselves and are celebrating it with a mix of ancient and modern traditions.

Year and Peace

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