Sunday, December 21, 2008

Yule

Day of joy and rebirth.... Solar festival celebrated by Yule log's fire.... Holly, ivy, evergreens and mistletoe adorn windows, doors, rooms and halls.... Rejoice! Merry

Yule is a solar festival and one of the Minor Sabbats. This is when the Goddess gives birth to the God. The Sun represents the God reborn. Fires are lit to welcome him. The ancient Pagans had rituals to hasten the end of winter and bring in the spring when nature’s bounty would, again, prevail. The day is a reminder that death isn’t final; there will be rebirth.

The Celebration
The altar cloth is green and candles are red, gold and white in silver holders, the colors of Yule. Holly, ivy, evergreens, mistletoe and fruit studded with cloves decorate the altar as well as the Yule crystals: ruby, cat’s eye, garnets, bloodstone, diamonds and emerald. Incense is myrrh, frankincense, cedar, pine, bayberry or cinnamon.

The tree is adorned with strings of popcorn and cranberries, quartz crystals wrapped wire, oranges, apples and lemons and small sachet bags with cinnamon, rosemary and bay leaves. Wishes written in parchment are hung from holly branches. The Yule log is lit and a piece of it is saved to protect the home and for next year’s celebration.

Love, camaraderie and accomplishments of the past year are celebrated. Reflection is on aspirations for the next year.

Love and accomplishments of the past year are also celebrated. This is also a good time to reflect on your achievements of the last year and what you desire to achieve in the coming year.

The Feast
Traditional foods are pork, apples, pears, nuts, fruitcakes, eggnog, mincemeat pies, spiced cider and wassail.

Appetizer: Apple and pear slices served with brie. To keep fruit from discoloring, sprinkle with lemon juice.
Spiced nuts: Melt 3 Tbs margarine. Stir in ½ teaspoon each garlic and onion powder, dry mustard and cayenne and 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce. Toss with 3 c mixed nuts. Bake 1 hour at 250ยบ, stirring every 15 minutes. Drain on paper towels. Store in air tight containers.
Roast Pork with Orange Sauce: Mix together 1 c dry white wine, 1 Tbs minced garlic, 2 tsp dried tarragon and 2 Tbs lemon juice. Pour over 3 ½ lb boneless pork loin. Refrigerate overnight, turning occasionally. Roast at 325 degrees for 2 ½ hours or until well done. Sauce: Blend 1 ½ c orange marmalade, 3 Tbs honey mustard and 1 Tbs horseradish. Refrigerate overnight.
Stir Fry Beans with Walnuts and Bacon: Cut ½ lb each green and wax beans into 1 inch diagonal slices. Toss with 1/3 c chopped walnuts. Stirfry in 1 Tbs oil over medium-high heat until done. Add 3 slices cooked diced bacon. Mix well.
Quick mincemeat: Mix 3 c canned mincemeat with 1 tsp ground cinnamon and nutmeg, 3 Tbs each candied lemon and orange peel and citron. Add 4 Tbs bourbon and 2 tsp lemon juice. Blend well. Refrigerate at least 24 hours before using.
Easy Fruitcake: Stir 1 c each candied cherries, citron, raisins and chopped pecans and 1 tsp rum flavoring into batter from 1 Package nut or date bread mix. Bake as directed.
Wassail: Mix together 7 c apple cider, 1 (12 oz) can frozen orange juice, 1 (6 oz) can frozen lemonade, ¼ tsp ground cloves and ½ tsp ground cinnamon. Bring to boil. Simmer ½ hour. Add 2 quarts sherry and blend well. Garnish with lemon or orange slices. Serve warm.

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