Tomorrow is the Winter Solstice — Wintersonnenwende — Great Yule.

Ian Capper [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons
Ian Capper [CC BY-SA 2.0 (, via Wikimedia Commons

With that long-celebrated day, the sun will then begin to rise higher in its arc across the sky, the days will slowly but surely grow longer, and light and warmth will return to the world.

In the hokku Wheel of the Year, the Winter Solstice is at the very bottom — the most Yin time. But on that day a spark of Yang becomes apparent in the darkness and cold of Yin, and will begin to grow. All since Midsummer’s day, Yin has grown to dominance in the year; but now Yang will grow and grow until it becomes dominant. We will now be on the rising turn of the Wheel of the Year instead of its falling.

Here are a few lines from an old carol appropriate to Great Yule, the Winter Solstice:


All hail to the days that merit more praise
Than all the rest of the year,
And welcome the nights that double delights
As well for the poor as the peer!
Good fortune attend each merry man’s friend,
That doth but the best that he may;
Forgetting old wrongs, with carols and songs,
To drive the cold winter away.

Let Misery pack, with a whip at his back,
To the deep Tantalian flood;
In Lethe profound let envy be drown’d,
That pines at another man’s good;
Let Sorrow’s expense be banded from hence,
All payments have greater delay,
We’ll spend the long nights in cheerful delights
To drive the cold winter away.

‘Tis ill for a mind to anger inclined
To think of small injuries now;
If wrath be to seek do not lend her thy cheek
Nor let her inhabit thy brow.
Cross out of thy books malevolent looks,
Both beauty and youth’s decay,
And wholly consort with mirth and with sport
To drive the cold winter away.

This time of the year is spent in good cheer,
And neighbours together do meet
To sit by the fire, with friendly desire,
Each other in love to greet;
Old grudges forgot are put in the pot,
All sorrows aside they lay;
The old and the young doth carol this song
To drive the cold winter away.



Ash commented on GLAD YULE!

This is a wonderful carol & really lifts my spirits just as the Yang rises & grows. Where is this carol from? What are its origins?

David replied:

The text dates at least to the early 17th century.
The tune is 17th century.

You will find some free MP3 renderings of the tune here (some with words):

You will find more verses and information on its history here:

It is a very pleasant song when sung in a lively and happy fashion, and it should be much better known.

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