Yule and Christmas, what do they have in common?
Yule or better the Winter Solstice will fall exactly to 3 today from today.
Under the influence of the Light of Arthur (Alban Arthuan), symbolized the rebirth of the Sun that like King Arthur returned to bring a new era of peace and prosperity.
This is how Yule’s night, the longest of the year, brings with it the birth of light and represents the transformation of being. The time to let go of our fears, our doubts, worn-out ideas and finished protectors, projecting us towards the beginning of new growth.
Following this route we can discover traditions lost in the folds of time.
Radovljica, the village of the elves
Our journey in Slovenia, and more precisely in the Upper Carniola Region, begins in a picturesque village with a fairy-tale appearance: Radovljica.
Here for the entire month of December the city lights up with lights and events and among its most marked and characteristic traditions are the Lectar.
Unlike what may appear this gingerbread is not edible and has a purely decorative purpose, especially during the holidays as it is used to decorate Christmas trees.
In Gothic style I suggest you to visit the Church of Saint Peter with vaulted ceilings with eight-pointed stars and by the chapel of Mary, at the end of the nave southern, with a white altar dedicated to the Madonna.
Ljubljana, on the trail of Santa Claus
It’s difficult to leave this little gem, but the journey continues towards the capital of Slovenia: Ljubljana.
A brief stop to enjoy the festive air of the city, but above all to visit the Cathedral dedicated to St. Nicholas, with Baroque-style frescoes that take your breath away due to their complexity, beauty and colors.
I take this opportunity to talk to you about the origins of Santa Claus that start from a small red puppet that was burned to restore order in everyday life.
A Lord of Disorder that we find in the tarots in the figure of the “Fool”.
The mysterious symbol of anticoformism, recklessness and irrationality, all qualities that in the Christmas period it is right to find again to take life with more lightness and live it with a bit more magic. The madness that teaches us to free ourselves from indecision, insecurity, confusion and nervousness.
Postojna Cave and the secret of the dragons
We conclude our tour of Slovenia by discovering and exploring the enchanting Postojna Cave.
These karst caves that have not only seen an underground railway winding inside it for over 140 years, but that at Christmas time also welcome a large and magnificent living crib with more than 500 figures that give it life under crystallized drops of suggestive emotion.
A place to get close to the Proteus, a small animal that is born and lives only in this place and that for many years in the past has been believed to be a baby dragon.
Zagreb, between faith and mythology
Our journey continues and moves to Croatia where we stop off in its capital, Zagreb festively decorated with the most classic of colors, red, and with mistletoe everywhere.
This plant is sacred for the Winter Solstice and symbolizes life and eternity, representing regeneration and immortality.
In Mirigoj, the city cemetery, where not only to bring homage to his illustrious guests, but also to be enchanted by his angels and sacred statues which, between porticoes and domes, hand down to us the most beautiful and sincere of teachings: integration.
Continuing towards the Cathedral of Zagreb, dedicated to the Assumption of Mary, we are faced with the apotheosis of the neo-Gothic style.
Finally we reach the Cathedral of the Transfiguration of the Lord, an Orthodox church that amazes for its warmth and abundance of its interiors richly decorated with copious gold.
Yule log or Christmas tree?
After this full of tradition I observe the multiple Christmas trees that decorate the city and I stop to think about their original meaning.
The Yule log has always been a pagan symbol to celebrate the transition from autumn to winter.
The first was chosen because it is an evergreen tree, which brings hope to the soul of men since it never dies, even in the coldest and most difficult period of the year.
Decorating the Christmas tree is a symbol of persistence in the dark and the cold and the hope of reaching the spring. Turning the December Tree on with a thousand lights recalls the ritual of the great fir bonfire where the negativities were symbolically burned of the past.
I wish you all a happy Yule and a peaceful Christmas, in the hope that by following me on my journey you could get your fill of inspiration and culture by learning more about the true origins of this feast of peace and serenity!