Have you ever wondered why we set up an evergreen tree around this time of year and most of all why do we decorate it? Well the evergreen tree goes way back before Christianity to Romans and Celts, but this blog wouldn’t be called the undercover viking if I didn’t tell you about the viking customs.
In the period from the 21th and the 12days after the old Norse believed that the layer between life and death was so thin that the dead could walk around at night and bad wights (spirits) would roam and hurt the living. They believed this period to be the in between year, not really one year and not really the new one yet. So nobody went out in the dark by themselves, always in groups and mostly singing (because what do you do when you are afraid, you make noise).
Where does the evergreen tree come in? Well to attract the good house wights and give them a place to live, the old Norse would have a tree outside and decorate it with colored ribbons and same thing with the wreath. The tree only moved indoors after Christianity took over, at first to hide the practice of decorating tree (you should read Jeremiah 10:1-25 which condemns the decorating of tree’s from the forest) and eventually because Christian leaders understood they could not with so the evergreen tree symbolized the everlasting light of the lord (if you cant win, join them).
Today many people say that Christmas or Yule tide is a commercial game and they might be somewhat right, but even the gifting is something the old Norse used to do right around this period. I keep finding different reasons why, one talks about Thor being the one to bring gifts to his most loyal followers, one talk about giving gifts to your closest friend and kin and yet another talks about giving gifts to keep evil at bay.
So set your tree and hang your wreath, inside or out your house wights will be glad they have a place to hide and the legend says that if you hang bells in your tree and it chimes, its a pleased house wight letting you know you have its blessing.
Tonight is mothers night, this night we celebrate the ancestral mothers because lets face it without them our ancestral fathers wouldn’t have found their pants 😉
celebrating the ancestral mothers is different for each familie, so I suggest looking up your familie history or tree to see who your Desir are. I haven’t gotten very far up my tree so that is a project I really need to work on.
I have this amazing recipe to share with you guys its called honey-nut-saffron cakes, I made these yesterday and well they are all gone so they have to be good right.
What will you need for 10 people
- a small amount of saffron
- 125 grams of chopped hazelnuts or peanut butter
- 250 grams of soft butter
- 250 grams of sugar
- 5 tablespoons of honey
- 5 eggs
- 190 grams of flour
- Pumpkin spice to taste (optional)
- Heat the oven at 160 degrees Celsius
- soak the saffron in 2 tablespoons of hot water (not boiling!)
- Roast the hazelnuts (unless you are using peanut butter then skip this step)
- Mix the butter with the sugar until you have a smooth mixture
- Add the nuts/peanut butter, the honey and the saffron with the water to the mix
- Stir in one egg and only add the next when the first is completely mixed in
- Add the flour and the pumpkin spice
- bake for 30 minutes on 160 °c
And behold delicious little cakes to eat, offer and share.
While the cakes were cooling we went for a walk in the woods and I saw a woodpecker for the very first time in my life. I tried to take a picture but its so blurry you cant see him on it, I was expecting a bigger bird you know 🙂
In light of recent events I will keep the mothers of Berlin in my prayers to Frigg tonight, I will ask Eir to stand by those fighting for their lives and ask Forsetti for swift judgement over the guilty party.
So your Facebook must have been spammed already with tree’s, balls, garlands and loads of red and white by now, and of course the traditional “damn its cold” posts. Clearly signs of my favorite season and holiday, before I learned about vikings it was Christmas and now its Yule (its 12 days who can not switch :p).
I have gathered books and lore from all over and am planning to share what knowledge I’ve gathered during the Yule days, that means from 19 to 31 I will be posting everyday. I will try including cooking recepis I’ve found online (pinterest whooo) and maybe some crafts. I won’t be showing any altar or tree since I have no space what so ever to put one, we can only hope that Njord will look to us the coming year so we can buy our own little place.
There we go, keep an eye out for the next post.