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Origins of Yule

The seasons of the year are caused by the 23.5 degree tilt of the earths axis. Because of the way the earth rotates, it points in a fixed direction continuously towards a point in space near the north star, and it is also revolving around the sun. Half of the year there is more exposure from the sun in the southern hemisphere, and the other half of the year in the northern. In the northern hemisphere during noontime the sun is low in the sky during winter. This is the time when the sun is at its lowest evelotion, and is when the winter solstice takes place, it is the first day of winter. The word solstice is dirived from the latin words "sol" meaning sun, and "sistere" meaning to cause to stand still. During prehistoric times in the northern latitudes the aboriginal people found winter to be a very difficult time. This time of year the growing season was over, and they would have to servive with the food that they had stored, and any animals they could catch. As the life giving sun would sink lower in the sky each noon, the people feared that it would eventually dissappear, leaving them in total darkness, and extreme cold. After the winter solstice they had great reason to celebrate as they saw the sun rising, and gaining strength again. Eventhough they new that there would be many more month of cold winter left, they would take comfort in knowing that the warmer seasons for planting and growing would be coming. This is how the concept of birth, death, and rebirth came to be associated with the winter solstice.Back in this prehistoric time the aboriginal people had now instruments to be able to discover the solstice, however they were able to notice the slight elevation in the suns path within days of the actual solstice probably around December 25th, and this would be when the celebrations would take place.

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