by Jill Pederson-Meyer
The Scandinavian and Germanic Tribes of Europe originally named their months of December and January "Yule" Their great midwinter feast occured in January, but the 24th or 25th of December was known as Mother's night. This night - with slight shifts in the calendar over the centuries - was Winter Solstice, the longest night of the year. It is this night before which every evening becomes even darker and after which daytime light slowly grows until peaking at Summer Solstice. The night was sacred to the triple Goddess who created (Maiden), sustained (Mother) and took away life (Crone). It was especially sacred to the great Earth Mother who labors all night on Solstice to give birth to the sun baby, thereby returning light to the world. Christian imagery of the Mother and baby shining with halos of light descended from ancient Goddess religions.
On Mother's night, one family member baked "Care Cakes, which they served to the rest of the family who remained in bed. This celebratory roleplaying served to dramatize the laboring and birthgiving that the Great Mother had done. As the Swedes believed the maiden aspect of the Goddess is the light bringer of mid-winter, Mother's Night gradually became the feast of St. Lucia. During this celebration, one honored daughter of the family, dressed in white and wearing a candle-lit crown of greenery on her head, brings Yule breakfast to her newly-awakened family. Younger siblings wear tall pointed caps decorated with stars, playing the newer children of the light. Other connections exist between Yule and Mother and Chile in France, where into the 1960's, women gathered together on Christmas Eve to sew baby clothes for pregnant friends and for the local poor.
brightest blessings Ocean Harmony