Turn the whole Universe upside down,
turn all Things upside down.
Turn as well the World upside down,
because it is wrong and empty,
but do not touch my old Yule!
(Danish song: Sikken voldsom trængsel og alarm. Melody and lyrics: Peter Faber 1850. Translation: Author)
How sad it is before the Christmas, snowstorm and short days
Minds bend down, not knowing where to find courage
The light of the day vanishes more and more
Hearts tremble cold and desperate
The year that flourished bright between the flowers of midsummer
is now without the Sun and brilliance,
it lays and decays under the snow
It freezes and feels his strength is finished
And that is how it should be before the Christmas can come
(Danish song: Ind under jul hvor er det trist. Melody: Morten Eskesen 1876. Lyrics: Jonas Lie 1865. Translation: Author)
From Stone Age to the 1850’s, Europeans had the one and the same religious principle: The continuation of life and the species as a whole had to be ensured. Nothing was more important than guaranteeing the fertility of humans, plants and animals in fighting for survival.
It was believed that life and vitality originated from the earth, and earth as a giver of life was the great Mother Earth. She was worshipped with many names everywhere, where people got their nourishment directly from the nature. As powerful and almighty as Mother Earth was, she could not create life alone, but needed help from the heavenly male Sun god. These two in turn needed help from people to be able to join together in giving fertility to the world.
Another of Mother Earth’s weaknesses was that she too was under the laws and cycles of nature, just as all the other living creatures. In other words, Mother Earth was born, grew up, reproduced, got tired and old — and finally died. That is why her vitality had to be renewed in the midwinter, when darkness and coldness take over lands, and everything seems to be dead and inert. Then people’s holy duty and responsibility was to revive the nature again by celebrating the Yule. It was thought the spring could not come without this celebration of midwinter.
When there is snowdrift and lakes are frozenTo be continued in a subsequent blog.
and the Sun’s eye has passed out
When a swallow is far away
and the forest is deserted and without a song
Then there is a warm breath in the winterweather
when there is Yule
(Finnish song: Kun joulu on. Melody: Kotilainen, Otto. Lyrics: Noponen, Alpo. Translation: Author)