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Yule Wreath HWYL 01 003

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Yule Wreath

"If the heathen of ancient Europe celebrated, as we have good reason to believe, the season of Midsummer with a great festival of fire, of which the traces of which have survived in many places down to our time, it is natural to suppose that they should have observed with similar rites the corresponding season of Midwinter; for Midsummer and Midwinter, or, in more technical language, the summer solstice and winter solstice, are the two great-turning points in the sun's apparent course throughout the sky, and from the standpoint of primitive man nothing might seem more appropriate than to kindle fires on earth at the two moments when the fire and heat of the great liminary in heaven begin to wane or to wax. In this way the savage philosopher, to whose meditations on the nature of things we owe many ancient customs and ceremonies, might easily imagine that he helped the labouring sun to relight his dying lamp, or at all events to blow up the flame into a brighter blaze" (p. 246).

Frazer, James George. Balder the Beautiful: The Fire-Festivals of Europe and the Doctrine of the External Soul, Vol 1. MacMillan, 1919.


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