Yule and Winter Solstice on 21st - 22nd of December
The Winter Solstice, the longest night of the year falls usually between 21st and 22nd December. It is a time where darkness rules over the light and from which the nights start to get shorter and shorter.
The Oak King wins the battle over the Holly King who ruled since the Summer Solstice and his rule made days shorter and shorter and nights longer and longer. Evergreens like holly, ivy or mistletoe are traditional plants representing magic of Mother Earth - everlasting energy of life, always green, sleeping but alive. Holly is the representative of the male energies, Ivy of the female and Mistletoe is ancient protection plant. It was cut out from Oak trees, divided among the community households to hand in each house for protection. Traditionally houses were decorated with these evergreens to also invite Fae into homes from the cold.
Yule is a fire festival, celebrating return of the Sun. The Sun is born again on the Winter Solstice and it will symbolically grow as the days will get longer. Traditionally Yule log out of Oak tree would be burnt 12 days and 12 nights from Yule to about 2nd or 3rd of January. Yule candles were also lid, decorated with holy and green and red ribbons, put at window's sills to invite good spirits who would bless and protect homes during the cold long winter. Candle would be also burned for 12 days, often such a candle would be given as a gift to the love ones, for the blessed and prosperous next year.
Yule colors are dark green, deep read, white, gold and silver. Herbs and plants used are cinnamon, cloves, orange peel, mistletoe and apples.
Witches put down their magical tools and do no magic during Yule period, but they rest and contemplate on what year's blessing they have received. After the last pieces of Yule log or Yule candle is finished on the 12th day, the witches start to practice magic again.