The origins of Jól celebration Nordic researchers are in disagreement. Some have held Jól for a party in honor of the sun’s return, others have interpreted the first Jól celebration as a fertility feast when a number of cultic acts with vegetation symbols play a huge role in the old customs.
To decorate with greenery as einer- and spruce twigs until Jól was common since ancient times, and this has been interpreted as growth symbols that promoted prosperity and fertility. Some researchers have argued that jólbukken also is an expression of a fertility cult, a buck that was originally harvested to Jól for good year. Later, the word used to describe a person who went about Jól dressed in a furry cast and generally equipped with goat mask.
It is indeed doubtful whether jólgrisen can be traced back to Frey victim (one boar), but the performances are clearer when it comes jólkake (Jólbrød). Such a cake or bread was hidden in grain coffin. During plowing in the spring was the split between onnefolket and horse, and something was mixed in the seed.
The first Norse source that mentions anything about the content of such a pagan jólfest is “Haraldskvadet” from about the year 900 after court poet Þorbjörn Hornklofi. It says in verse six: “Outside [the sea] he [the king] drink Jól .. and record Freys play”. What is meant by Freys play is not known, but the phrase “drink Jól” is synonymous with celebrating Jol and should have been a ceremonial libation to the ancient gods.
There is not much we know about what kind of midwinter feast and Jól it was in Norway before Christianity was introduced, but some main is still unknown. It is believed that it began on January 13 with a celebration at home that lasted several days. Then it continued with cultic acts sacrifice of animals, so-called soaking. An important element was also beer drinking to the gods honored for promoting annual and peace. Some scientists believe that the party had many features resembling ancestors cultivation, and that one held it for the dead as the winter’s darkest time returned to their old places of residence. Therefore, one has up to the present time preserved the custom of letting light burn jólnatten and let food stand promoting. The beds was allowed to stand empty so that the dead could use them, and even lay one on the floor the night between jólaften and Christmas Day. The oldest Norwegian jólfeiringen will also be interpreted as an attempt at a party period of slaughtering and brewing. Jól was a party where symbolic actions, such as lying in straw jólnatten and putting up Christmas sheaves, should increase the chances of a good harvest in the coming year.
Part of the customs of this ancient feast has lived on with partially new content within the context of the Christian jólfeiringen, such as the ritual beer drinking. After the introduction of Christianity, there was admittedly no longer Odin and Thor one drank, but for Christ and the Virgin Mary. Never mind They DRINK TOO THE GODS;) 🙂
Jól was the time when the supernatural beings because of darkness had freer scope than otherwise. When searched the dead back to their home on Earth, and one had to defend herself against the ride procession that passes through the air and called Asgardsreien, Oskorei or jólerei by painting tar cross above the door and on kegger. One of the underground was the matter of Christmas was Claus (barns Claus).
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