“There are such a lot of things that have no place in summer and autumn and spring. Everything that’s a little shy and a little rum. Some kinds of night animals and people that don’t fit in with others and that nobody really believes in. They keep out of the way all the year. And then when everything’s quiet and white and the nights are long and most people are asleep — then they appear.” ― Tove Jansson
Tonight marks the winter solstice in the Northern Hemisphere, the longest night of the year. It also marks the beginning of Yule, a midwinter festival celebrating this replenishing darkness, along with the promise of the sun’s return.
The festival traditionally lasts 12 days (hence the later adoption of the 12 Days of Christmas) and is kicked off with fire and a feast.
As soon as the sun sets, a yule log will go in our fireplace, from which candles will be lit for the table.
Dinner will be prepared only with ingredients grown by us or by dear friends: pork chops with green figs and apples, sautéed spinach, corn bread with roasted garlic spread, and peach brandy. Even the candles were made by an 89-year-old beekeeper I adore, with wax from his hive. A reminder that the Earth provides everything we need, right where we are.
In the midst of Christmas chaos, Yule centers me, praising darkness over flash and glare, quiet over the din of false piety.
So the next 12 days will find us making time for nature, enjoying food preserved in generous, warm seasons, and savoring silent nights in front of the wood stove with a good book.
We wish you a happy Yule and hope you find time to reflect on the beauty of winter and the possibility of life that lies beneath the cold and snow.