For more detail on each holiday, please view the individual pages from the drop down menu.
The month of January / Snow Moon
January 9 - Remembrance for Raud the Strong, a Norwegian chieftain whom Olaf Tryggvason killed for refusing to convert. The end of a metal horn was put down Raud's throat; a poisonous snake was then put into the horn and the other end heated to drive it along.
January 14 - Thorrablot: This holiday began the Old Norse month of Snorri. It's still observed in Iceland with parties and a mid-winter feast. It is of course sacred to Thor and the ancient Icelandic Winter Spirit of Thorri. On this day, practitioners perform a blot to Thor and invite the mighty Asaman to the feast!
January 31 - DISTING/DISABLOT: Also called "Charming of the Plough/Plow" after the Anglo-Saxon spell and ceremony. Recorded as a regular feast only in Sweden, this blessing takes place January 31st. The name means "Thing (Assembly) of the Goddesses." In Sweden, it was the first public moot/fair and market of the year; in Denmark, this is the time when the first furrows were ploughed in the field. This is a feast of new beginnings, at which the work in the fields for the growing season to come is blessed. For Charming of the Plough/Plow, the equipment would be “charmed,” as well as the field and seed, so the crops would be in abundance. The Landvættir/land wights would be honored and thanked for their help in the planting, growing, and eventual harvest.
The month of February / Horning
February 2 - Barri: This is the day we celebrate the wooing by Ingvi Freyr of the maiden Gerd, a symbolic marriage of the Vanir God of Fertility with the Mother Earth. It is a festival of fertility, the planted seed, and the plowed furrow. For those of you who garden, this is a great time to plant seeds indoors, to later be transplanted in the summer garden!
February 9 - Remembrance for Eyvind Kinnrifi, whom Olaf Tryggvason tortured to death by putting a metal brazier filled with burning coals on his belly when he refused to convert.
February 14 - Folk etymology has led to this day being called "Feast of Vali" in modern Asatru. Saint Valentine has no associations with Vali, nor to the thinly disguised heathen Lupercalia rites that take place on this day. Many Heathens still honor this god on February 14th.
The month of March / Lenting
March 9 - Day of Remembrance for Oliver the Martyr, an adherent of Asatru who persisted in organizing underground sacrifices to the gods and goddesses despite decrees by St. Olaf the Lawbreaker forbidding such activities. Betrayed by an informer, he was killed by Olaf’s men while preparing for the spring sacrifice in the village of Maerin, Norway. Many other men whose names are lost to us were also killed, mutilated, or exiled for taking part in such sacrifices.
Near March 21 - OSTARA / SUMMER FINDING: Ostara is celebrated on the spring equinox around March 21. This feast marks the beginning of the summer half of the year. It's a celebration of fertility and was known as a fire festival (fire is used to represent the sun). It's named after the goddess Ostara (Anglo-Saxon Eostre), who was such an integral part of heathen Germanic culture that the Christians stole and absorbed it as their own spring feast, which was adapted for the Paschal holiday and was converted to the Christian Easter. This was all done to get more heathens to convert to their Christian beliefs. Her name is related to the Germanic words for "east" and "glory;" she was the embodiment of the springtime and the renewal of life.
At the equinox, the sun rises directly in the east and sets directly in the west. In the northern hemisphere, before Ostara, the sun rises and sets more and more to the south, and afterward, it rises and sets more and more to the north.
Spring equinox is the beginning of spring in the northern hemisphere. The holiday is a celebration the rejuvenation of the earth, fertility, and growth; traditional decorations include budding boughs, flowers, decorated eggs, and the rabbit motif. Mating season starts early in the spring, especially for rabbits and birds. Male hares could be seen jumping around wildly and acting crazy. This is where the phrase “crazy as a March hare” comes from.
Heathen folk customs associated especially with Ostara's feast include the painting and hunting of Easter eggs, which, according to German tradition, were brought or laid by the "Easter Hare." The hare was the holy beast of Ostara, slain and eaten only at her blessing. In Germany, bakeries sell hare-shaped cakes at this time of year. Fires were also kindled on the hilltops at dawn, especially in Germany. Another common folk custom that still survives in rural areas is the performance of plays where Summer battles with Winter and drives him out, or where an effigy embodying Winter is beaten, burned, or drowned.
Today, Ostara is seen as the feast to awakening the earth, the gods and goddesses, and the human soul. Life becomes brighter and more joyful after the Ostara feast has been rightly held.
March 28 - Ragnar Lodbrok Day: Ragnar was one of the legend's most famous Vikings. On this day in Runic Year 1145, he raided Paris. It just happened to be Easter Sunday. Today, toast Ragnar and read from his Saga.
The month of April / Ostara
April 9 - Remembrance for Haakon Sigurdsson (Haakon the Great), one of the Jarls of Hladhir and a great defender of heathenism in Norway during the brutal period of forced conversion to Christianity.
April 15 - Sigrblot/Sumarsdag: Today we celebrate the first day of Summer in the Old Icelandic calendar. In Iceland, it had strong agricultural overtones, but elsewhere in the Nordic world, it was a time to sacrifice to Odin for victory in the summer voyages and battles.
April 22 - Yggdrasil Day: On this day, we realize the great significance the World Tree plays in our culture, heritage, and spirituality. From the World Tree we came, and it shelters and nurtures the Asatru to this day Come Ragnarok, it will offer shelter. Trees are the lungs as well as the soul of Midgard.
April 31st - May 1st: MAY EVE / WALUBURGIS NIGHT: Waluburgis Night (Valborgsmassoafton in Swedish, Vappu in Finnish, Walpurgisnacht in German) is a holiday celebrated on April 30 in Finland, Sweden, and Germany. It's named after a woman called "Valborg" (alternative spellings are "Walpurgis," "Wealdburg," or "Valderburger") born in 710 somewhere in Dorset / Wessex as a niece of Saint Boniface. Together with her brothers, she later traveled to Württemberg, Germany, where she became a nun and lived in the convent of Heidenheim, which was founded by her brother Wunibald. Valborg died on February 25, 779, and that day still carries her name in the Catholic calendar. However, she wasn't made a saint until May 1 in the same year, and that day carries her name in the Swedish calendar.
Viking fertility celebrations took place around April 30, and due to Valborg being declared a saint at that time of year, her name became associated with the celebrations. Valborg was worshipped in the same way Vikings had celebrated spring, and as they spread throughout Europe, the two dates became mixed together and created the Valborg celebration.
Waluburgis is one of the main holidays during the year in both Sweden and Finland, alongside Yule and Midsummer. One of the main traditions is to light large bonfires and for the younger people to collect greens and branches from the woods at twilight, which were used to adorn the houses of the village. The expected reward for this task was to be paid in eggs.
The tradition, which is most spread throughout the country, is probably singing songs of spring. The strongest, most traditional spring festivities take up most of the day from early morning to late night on April 30.
Historically, the Walpurgisnacht is derived from heathen spring customs, where the arrival of spring was celebrated with bonfires at night. With the Christianization of Germany, these old customs were condemned as heathen.
No true Germanic heathen name survives for May Eve; the German Walpurgisnacht is derived from the well-documented Christian St. Walpurga. To avoid confusion, and because no better name survives, many Germanic heathens have replaced "Walpurga" with the name of the second-century Germanic seeress "Waluburg." This festival marks the beginning of summer in Scandinavia.
In all the Germanic countries, it's said to be a time when witches are particularly active, a belief memorialized in Goethe's description of the witch-moot on the Brocken (Faust, Act I) and Mussorgsky's "Night on Bald Mountain."
It's also the Germanic equivalent of Valentine's Day and a night of love: young men are expected to go out into the woods to gather green branches and wildflowers, with which they decorate the windows of their beloveds. For both these reasons, heathens consider Freya to be the ruler of this festival, as she's mistress of both witchcraft and love. The traditional "Maypole" or "May Tree" is also a part of the celebration of this feast; in Scandinavia, the "May Tree" is carried about in processions, a practice that probably goes back to the Vanic fruitfulness-procession of earliest heathen times. Fires were kindled on grave mounds or other high places on this night; it's traditional for folks to leap through the flames for luck. A fire kindled by friction (the "need-fire") might also be used to protect cattle against illness or cure them.
The month of May / Merrymoon
May 1 - May Day: The first of May is a time of great celebration across Europe, as the fields get greener and the flowers decorate the landscape with colorful confusion. Freya turns her kindly face to us after the night of Walburg, so celebrate the birth of Spring and the gifts of Freya on this day!
May 9 - Remembrance for Gudrod of Gudbrandsdal, whose tongue was cut out by the Norwegian king "St. Olaf" (not to be confused with Olaf Tryggvason, despite the similarity of names and methods. St. Olaf, otherwise known as "Olaf the Fat" or "Olaf the Big-Mouthed," was canonized for his efforts to convert Norway by fear, murder, and torture). This Norwegian martyr spoke out against the tyranny of the Christian fanatic Tryggvason and urged others to resist him. For this, the king had his tongue cut out.
May 20 - Frigga Blot: Today we rejoice in the warmth and splendor of Spring. A traditional time for a kindred campout to perform a blot to honor the All-Mother and thank her for the health and vitality of the family, kindred, and tribe.
The month of June / Midyear
June 8 - Lindisfarne Day: On this day in the year 1043 Runic Era (793 CE), three Viking ships raided the Isle of Lindisfarne, officially opening what is called the Viking Age.
June 9 - Remembrance for Sigurd the Dragon slayer (known in German versions of the story as Siegfried). Sigurd the Volsung is the model hero. His wooing of the Valkyrie Brynhild, the winning of the treasure of the Nibelungs, and slaying the dragon Fafnir are priceless parts of our Asatru heritage.
Near June 21: MIDSUMMER. Midsummer is the religious celebration held at the summer solstice. This feast usually falls around June 20-21. Midsummer-related holidays, traditions, and celebrations are found in all the Germanic countries of Northern Europe. Midsummer's eve is considered the second greatest festival of the Germanic holy year, comparable only to the 12 days of Yule.
The Summer Solstice is the date with the longest day, hence also the shortest night. This date usually falls near June 21.
Certain celebrations take place on the evening of the summer solstice. Great roaring bonfires, speeches, songs, and dancing are most traditional. Folk traditions include the making of wreaths, the kindling of fires, the burning of corn dollies (human figure made of straw), and the adornment of fields, barns, and houses with greenery.
Midsummer is particularly a time to make blessings to Baldur. Model Viking ships are also sometimes made from thin wood, filled with small flammable offerings, and burned. Midsummer is the high point of the year, the time when deeds are brightest and the heart is most daring. This is the time when our Viking forebears, having their crops safely planted, sailed off to do battle in other lands. It's a time for action and risk, for reaching fearlessly outward.
Other traditional events include raising and dancing around a huge maypole. Before the maypole is raised, greens and flowers are collected and used to "may" the entire pole. Raising and dancing around a maypole to traditional music is primarily a fertility ritual.
The holiday is considered the time of the death of the Fair God of sunshine, Baldur, and thus the turning point at which summer reaches its height and the sun shines longest. At the same time, it's when the days will soon begin to shorten and the earth is beginning its slow descent into winter again. For that reason, some groups prefer to honor the Goddess Sunna, for she is the sun who shines on crops during the summer months. It's important to note that midsummer is actually the first day of summer and not the middle.
One idea for midsummer is to remain awake all night and mark the shortest night of the year, then at sunrise to perform a "Greeting of Sunna" blot to her.
Another midsummer custom is the rolling of a flaming wagon wheel down a hill to mark the turning of the wheel of the year. If fire would otherwise be a hazard, one could parade a wheel covered with candles for similar effect.
The month of July / Haymoon
July 9 - Day of Remembrance for Unn the Deep Minded: Unn was a powerful figure from the Laxdaela Saga who emigrated to Scotland to avoid the hostility of King Harald Fairhair. She established dynasties in the Orkney and Faroe Islands by carefully marrying off her granddaughters. As a settler in Iceland, she was considered one of the great chieftains of Iceland, as she continued to exhibit all those traits, which were her hallmark-strong will, a determination to control, dignity, and a noble character. In the last days of her life, she established a mighty line, choosing one of her grandsons as her heir. She died during his wedding celebration, presumable upon accomplishing her goals and working out her orlog here in Midgard. She received a typical Nordic ship burial, surrounded by her treasure and her reputation for great deeds.
July 29 - Stikklestad Day: Olaf the Lawbreaker (“St. Olaf”) was killed at the battle of Stikklestad on this date in the year 1280 R.E. “Olaf the Fat” acquired a reputation for killing, maiming, and exiling his fellow Norwegians who wouldn't convert to Christianity, and for carrying an army with him in violation of the law to help him accomplish his oppression. Today honors the warriors who brought justice to the Lawbreaker.
The month of August / Harvest
August 1st - FREYFEST / FREYFAXI / LAMMAS: The name Lammas is taken from an Anglo-Saxon heathen festival that was forcibly Christianized. The name (from hlaf-mass, "loaves festival") implies it's a feast of thanksgiving for bread, symbolizing the first fruits of the harvest. Heathens mark the holiday by baking a figure of the God Freyr in bread, and then symbolically sacrificing and eating it.
Again, no purely heathen name has survived for this festival, which takes place at the beginning of August, the time when the first fruits of harvest were brought to the church as gifts since this was taken over from heathen custom. In English and German tradition, the First Sheaf was often bound and blessed as an offering to heathen deities or the spirits of the field at the beginning of harvest, just as the Last Sheaf was at its end. English folk custom also includes the decoration of wells and springs.
In heathenism today, the feast is especially thought of as holy to Freyr as a fertility god, Thor as a harvest god, and his wife Sif, whose long golden hair can be seen in fields of ripe grain. The warriors who'd gone off to fight at the end of planting season came back, loaded with a summer's worth of plunder and ready to reap the crops that had ripened while they were gone. Loaf-Feast is the end of the summer's vacation, the beginning of a time of hard work, which lasts through the next two or three months while we ready ourselves for the winter.
Freyfaxi marked the time of the harvest in ancient Iceland. Today, the Asatru observe this date as a celebration of their harvest with blot to Freyr and a grand feast from the gardens and the fields. Any grains harvested are made into breads, and other seasonal fruits and vegetables are included in the feast. Preserving foods from the harvest is also done this time of year. Some groups gather to help each other preserve food for the winter.
August 9 - Day of Remembrance for Radbod: On this date, we honor Radbod, a king of Frisia, an early target of Christian missionaries. Just before his baptism ceremony, he asked the clergy what fate had befallen his ancestors who died loyal to Asatru. The missionaries replied that Radbod’s heathen ancestors were burning in Hell, to which the king replied, “Then I will rather live there with my ancestors than go to heaven with a parcel of beggars.” The baptism was cancelled, the aliens expelled, and Frisia remained free.
The month of September / Shedding
September 9 - Day of Remembrance for Herman of the Cherusci: Few mortals have privileged to serve our folk as did Herman, a leader of the tribe called the Cherusci. He defeated Varus’s three Roman Legions in 9 C.E. Herman was very aware of his duties not only as a member of his tribe but also as an Asaman; indeed, the two were probably inseparable with him. Shedding is the ideal time to give him praise, because the crucial battle for which he's remembered was fought during this month.
Near September 21st - FALL-FEAST / HAUSTBLOT: Fall-feast/Haustblot is another joyous festival in the Asatru holy calendar and falls on the Autumn Equinox, and is the beginning of autumn in the northern hemisphere. Also called Winter Finding, Fall-feast represents the second harvest of the season.
Bonfires, feasting, and dancing played a large part in the festivities. Even into Christian times, villagers cast the bones of the slaughtered cattle upon the flames, cattle having a prominent place in the pre-Christian Germanic world (though folk etymology derives the English word "bonfire" from these "bone fires"). With the bonfire ablaze, the villagers extinguished all other fires. Each family then lit their hearth from the common flame, bonding the families of the village together.
Practically speaking, it marked the beginning of the gathering of food for the long winter months ahead, bringing people and their livestock in to their winter quarters. To be alone and missing at this dangerous time was to expose yourself and your spirit to the perils of imminent winter. In present times, the importance of this part of the festival has diminished for most people. From the point of view of an agricultural people, for whom a bad season meant facing a long winter of famine when many wouldn't survive until spring, it was paramount.
At the equinox, the sun rises directly in the east and sets directly in the west. In the northern hemisphere, before the autumnal equinox, the sun rises and sets more and more to the north, and afterward, it rises and sets more and more to the south.
In ancient times, our European ancestors celebrated their Harvest Feast and found many reasons to be thankful and to celebrate. Our people have done this for as long as we can trace our history, although what our people have felt thankful for has certainly changed over the many years. Remember as you sit down this year with your family, you're participating in an ancient tradition. And it's a great time to figure out what you're thankful for or, for your kindred to hold a blot of thanks.
The month of October / Hunting
October 8 - Day of Remembrance for Erik the Red: Remember the founder of Greenland, (exiled for murder, he sailed west to Greenland) and father of Leif Erikson, the founder of Vinland. Erik remained loyal to Thor, even when his wife left the gods and refused to sleep with her heathen husband.
October 9 - Day of Remembrance for Leif Erikson: This is a day that even the U.S. government admits should be dedicated to the man who beat Columbus to the shores of Vinland by over 500 years.
October 14 - Winter Nights/Vetrablot: In the Old Icelandic calendar, winter begins on the Saturday between the 11th and 17th. Winter Nights celebrates the bounty of the harvest and honors Freya and the fertility and protective spirits called Disir that She leads (often, the Disir are seen as our female ancestors). Give glory to Freya, and pour a libation of ale, milk, or mead into the soil an offering to the Disir and the earth itself.
October 31st: WINTER NIGHTS / VETRNAETR. Winter nights marked the last of the harvest and the time when the animals that weren't expected to make it through the winter were butchered and smoked or made into sausage. The festival is also called "Elf-Blessing," "Dis-Blessing," or "Frey-Blessing," which tells us it was especially a time of honoring the ancestral spirits, the spirits of the land, the Vanir, and the powers of fruitfulness, wisdom, and death.
It marks the turning of the year from summer to winter, the turning of our awareness from outside to inside. Among the Norse, the ritual was often led by the elder woman of a family - the ruler of the house and all within.
One of the MOST common harvest customs of the Germanic people was the hallowing and leaving of the "Last Sheaf" in the field, often for Odin and/or his host of the dead, though the specifics of the custom vary considerably over its wide range. The Wild Hunt begins after Winter Nights, and the roads and fields no longer belong to humans, but to ghosts and trolls.
The Winter Nights feast is also especially seen as a time to celebrate our kinship and friendship with both the living and our earlier forebearers. It marks the beginning of the long, dark winter time at which memory becomes more important than foresight, and when old tales are told and great deeds are toasted as we ready ourselves for the spring to come. It's a time to think of accomplishments achieved and those which have yet to be made. Winter Nights also marks the beginning of a time of indoor work, thought, and craftsmanship.
This festival and feast celebrated the accessibility, veneration, awe, and respect of the dead. This was also a time for contemplation. To the ancient Germanic people, death was never very far away, and it was viewed as a natural and necessary part of life. To die was not as much of a surprise or tragedy as it is in modern times, and death wasn't viewed as something "scary" or "evil." Of higher importance to the Germanic people was to live and die with honor and thereby live on in the memory of the tribe to be honored at this great feast.
Starting on this night, the great divisions between the worlds is somewhat diminished, which allow the forces of chaos to invade the realms of order, the material world conjoining with the world of the dead. This is when the Wild hunt began, in which the restless spirits of the dead and those yet to be born walked among the living. The dead could return to the places where they'd lived, and food and entertainment were provided in their honor. In this way, the tribes were at one with their past, present, and future.
(Another example of changing the Germanic heathen calendar to convert more pagans to Christianity. Winter Nights on October 31 became "All Hallows Eve," and November 1 was declared "All Saint's Day.")
The month of November / Fogmoon
November 9 - Remembrance for Queen Sigrid of Sweden: Wooed by Olaf Tryggvason, the relationship ended sharply when she told him she had no intention of leaving the gods of her fathers, and he slapped her across the face. She was the chief arranger of the alliance that brought him down.
November 11 - Feast of the Einherjar, in which the fallen heroes in Valhalla, and in the halls of the other gods and goddesses, are remembered.
November 27 - Feast of Ullr and Skadi, Weyland Smith's Day, celebrating the greatest of Germanic craftsmen.
The month of December / Yule
December 9 - Remembrance for Egill Skallagrimsson. Odin was his God, and the blood of berserkers and shape-shifters ran in his family. His lust for gold and for fame was insatiable. Yet the same man was passionately moved by the love of his friends and generously open-handed to those who found his favor. The same brain that seethed with war fury also composed skaldic poetry capable of calming angry kings. Can it be by accident that Egil worshipped Odin, the great solver of paradoxes and riddles?
Near December 20 - Sunset of the Winter Solstice: YULE / YULETIDE. Yuletide is the pre-Christian Germanic Midwinter celebration. The name Yule is derived from the Old Norse HJOL, meaning "wheel," to identify the moment when the wheel of the year is at its lowest point, ready to rise again. Hjol has been inherited by Germanic and Scandinavian languages from a pre-Indo-European language level, and is a direct reference to the return of the sun, represented as a fiery wheel rolling across the heavenly sky. Yule celebrations and traditions at the winter solstice predate Christianity by thousands of years.
There are numerous references to Yule in the Icelandic sagas, and in other ancient accounts testifying to how Yule was actually celebrated. It was a time for feasting, giving gifts, drinking, and dancing.
The Yule holiday is the most important and popular of all the native Germanic spiritual celebrations. Yule marks the return of the god Baldur from the realm of Hel and the loosening of winters grip on the frozen earth.
The commencement of the Yuletide celebration has no set date, but is traditionally 12 days long with the start of the festivities beginning at sunset on the winter solstice (in the northern hemisphere, this date usually falls on or around December 20). This Germanic heathen holiday was forcibly stolen by early Christian missionaries and became known as the "12 days of Christmas."
The first night of Yule is called Mothernight, when Frigga and the Disir (female ancestral spirits) are especially honored. Mothers Night is appropriately named, as it represents the rebirth of the world from the darkness of winter. This is the date with the shortest day and the longest night of the year. A traditional vigil from dusk to dawn is held on the Mothers night to make sure the sun will rise again, and to welcome her when it does.
Yule is the season when the gods and goddesses are closest to Midgard; our deities were called "Yule-Beings" by the Norse, and Odin himself is called Jólnir, the "Yule One," which is where the image of Santa Claus is derived from. Yule is also the season during which the dead return to earth and share the feasts of the living. Elves, trolls, and other magical beings roam freely and must either be warded off or invited to come in friendship and peace. Yule is the time of the year at which the Wild Hunt, Odin's host of the restless dead, rides most fiercely; it's dangerous to meet them, but gifts of food and drink are left out for them, for they can also bring blessings and fruitfulness.
Yule is a time for dancing, feasting, and family. Sun wheels are sometimes burned as part of folk festivities. It was the practice in Germanic heathen times to swear oaths on a hallowed boar. This survived in Swedish folk-custom; a large boar-shaped bread or block of wood covered with pigskin was brought forth at Yule for this purpose, even through the beginning of this century. Boar-cakes are used for Yule-oaths by most heathens today. Especially meaningful oaths were also sworn on the horn or cup while drinking at the Yule feast. The "New Year's Resolution" is a diminished form of the holy Yule oath. The fir or pine tree, which is carried into the house and decorated, is an ancient Germanic custom, brought to America by German immigrants.
The tree, on which holy gifts are hung, was heathen in origin, representing Yggdrasil. In Germany, those who kept the old custom hid it inside so church authorities wouldn’t notice, but in England and Scandinavia, the trees and various spirits received their gifts outside. In those latter countries, it was a candlelit and ribbon-bedecked wreath, the ring of which may have reflected the oath-ring or the Yule sun-wheel that was traditionally brought in to decorate the home. The Yule-log is also an old heathen custom. This log was supposed to burn all night during the longest night of the year to symbolize life lasting even in the time of greatest darkness, its fire rekindling the sun in the morning. Its ashes or pieces were used as protective amulets during the rest of the year. Those who lack large fireplaces often use 24-hour candles instead.
The 12 days of Yule is largely devoted to baking cakes, cookies, breads, and making the unique decorations that beautify every heathen home at this holiday season. There are, for example, intricate paper cutouts to make and put on the walls, plus stars, wooden toys, straw goats, and wild boars to hang on the Yule tree. The straw animals, still widely found throughout Sweden, are intimately related to ancient Norse Germanic mythology, originating in legends of the sacred animals of the gods: the Goats of Thor (Yule Goat - "Julbock" in Swedish), and the Wild Boar of Freyr (Yule Boar - "Julgris" or "Julegris" in Swedish).
Most of the symbols associated with the modern holiday of Christmas (such as the Yule log, Santa Claus and his elves, Christmas trees, the eating of ham, the wreath, holly, mistletoe, the star, etc.) are derived from traditional northern European heathen Yule celebrations. When the first Christian missionaries tried to force the Germanic peoples to Christianity, they found it easier to invent a Christian version for popular feasts such as Yule and allow the celebrations to go on largely unchanged, rather than attempting to suppress them. Halloween and Easter have been likewise assimilated from northern European Heathen religious festivals.
December 31 - Twelfth Night: This culminates the traditional twelve days of Yule, each day representing a month of the preceding year in miniature. Reflect on the past year. Take stock, and lay a course for the future. Make New Year’s resolutions in the old way by swearing your oath on a sun wheel of evergreen, Yule wreath, or on your Hammer.