Recently, the Honors Program started a new tradition of having a Yuletide Festival at the end of each fall semester for Honors students to attend. Yuletide Festivals are ancient celebrations not rooted in any religion or creed. Instead Yuletide Festivals are rooted in solstices from the Latin words for “sun” and “to stand.” Solstices are days when the sun reaches its farthest northern and southern declinations. Yuletide, marks the mid-point of winter and brings the promise of new beginnings as we move out of the darkness and into increasingly lighter, warmer days. Yuletide signals the return of light after the longest night of the year in the Northern Hemisphere as from this day forward a new cycle begins of increasing daylight as the sun begins its journey Northward, each day becoming a little bit lighter. Most religions have incorporated these elements of Yuletide into their sacred wintertime celebrations.
Yuletide Festivals celebrate the rebirth of the sun. Yuletide festivals and can be traced as far back as ancient Egyptian times. As with many other mid-winter festivals across the globe, Yuletide Festivals celebrate the light of the returning sun and also a recognition of the light within others and ourselves. Winter is the season of stillness and rest, during which time plants and animals slow down to conserve energy. At Yuletide Festivals there is stillness and introspection, people reflect on the past year before beginning anew in the next. At Yuletide we take stock of our lives we identify what we need to cast off and what we hope to achieve in the coming year. As we release the dead wood in our lives, we make space for new opportunities to flow in and help us to move forward in the direction of our dreams. Yuletide is a time to celebrate our accomplishments, and express gratitude for the blessings in our lives.