Hakon the Good's Christian Persecution of Yule, and dating Historical Yule
Updated: Nov 16, 2021
1. Hakon the Good Saga, chapter 15, is about Hakon the Good being the Christian King of all Norway, and turning on Heathenry to make Norway Christian. Hakon was the son of the first king of all Norway, Harold Fairhair. Hakon the Good is famous for moving Yule from the time Heathens kept it, to the Solstice on the Julian Calendar, Dec 25th, as part of his forced Christianization policy in Norway. Please note, while Hakon was the first to start christianizing, this was a process that did take several kings of Norway to complete.
2. The first recorded date of Christmas being celebrated on December 25th was in 336 AD, during the time of the Roman Emperor Constantine. (He was the first Christian Roman Emperor). A few years later, Pope Julius I officially declared that the birth of Jesus would be celebrated on the 25th of December annually.
3. December 25th was declared Christmas because on the Julian Calendar (whom Pope Julian was responsible for codifying) was thought to be the solstice. The ROMAN Catholic Church at this time was not the religion of Rome. The Solstice was the ROMAN Pagan date of ROMAN Saturnalia. Christmas' dating was taken from Pagan Roman Saturnalia, in 336 AD, long before the Christian world experienced the Viking Invasions.
December 25 was the date of the winter solstice on the Roman calendar. Jesus chose to be born on the shortest day of the year for symbolic reasons according to the Church Fathers. St. Syrus (or Ephrem the Syrian) in circa 390 AD: "The Gentiles usually celebrated the birthday of the sun on December 25th, lighting up lights to mark the solstice. Christians also took part in these festivities. As Christians became aware of the cult, they consulted and resolved to sanctify the true birth of Christ on this day." For example another example, here is an early Christmas sermon by Augustine (who died August 28, 430 AD): "Hence it is that He was born on the day which is the shortest in our earthly reckoning and from which subsequent days begin to increase in length. He, therefore, who bent low and lifted us up chose the shortest day, yet the one whence light begins to increase."
4. Hakon the Good's Saga states that Xmas was at a different time than Yule, despite the fact Xmas was celebrated on the Solstice. Yule was on Hokunott (more on this below), which was on the full moon of Jolmanuthr or Yule Moon. Hakon the Good (died 961 AD) moved Heathen Yule to be at the same time as Christmas, then understood to be the Solstice. (Please note, in Hakon the Good's time, Xmas was thought to be on the Solstice until the Julian Calendar was rectified by the Gregorian Calendar six centuries after Hakon the Goods time, specifically in the year 1582.) Today, Scandinavian countries call Christmas "Yule" (various spellings) due to Hakon the Good moving Yule to the same date as Xmas, i.e. Christianization. Yule was historically in January, and the Danes did their 9-year blot/sacrifice on Yule itself: The Chronicon of Thietmar of Merseburg Chapter 17 (circa 925 AD): "As I have heard odd stories concerning their ancient mid-winter sacrifices, I will not allow this custom to be ignored. The middle of that kingdom is called Lederun (Lejre), in the region of Sjælland, all the people gathered every nine years in January, that is after we have celebrated the birth of the Lord [Christmas], and there they offered to their gods sacrifices…”
5. Hakon the Good's Saga shows that it is very un-Heathen historically and Christian to venerate Yule on the Solstice, in the manner of a Christian King trying to stamp out Heathenry in Norway. At the very least, Heathens should know this history, especially because it is in Norse Sagas. Yule and Christmas are two extremely different holidays celebrating two different things, and were on two different dates.
6. In the 1960s, an American Witch and poet named Aiden Kelly went looking for sabbat names more interesting than Spring Equinox, Summer Solstice, Winter Solstice, and Autumn Equinox. He ended up adopting Ostara for the Vernal Equinox, Yule for the Winter Solstice, and Mabon (as a reference to Mabon ap Modron, a character from Welsh mythology) for the Autumnal Equinox. "Wicca" is a modern word based on the Old English word for "Witch."
Aidan A. Kelly (born October 22, 1940) is an American academic, poet and influential figure in the Neopagan religion of Wicca. Having developed his own branch of the faith, the New Reformed Orthodox Order of the Golden Dawn, during the 1960s. He has also published academic work studying the early development of Gardnerian Wiccan liturgy, primarily through his controversial 1991 book Crafting the Art of Magic.
For more information on the historically accurate dating of Yule, please see two articles: 1. Dr. Andreas Nordberg, the world's foremost scholar on the dating of pre-christian Norse Holidays: https://www.academia.edu/1366945/Jul_disting_och_f%C3%B6rkyrklig_tider%C3%A4kning 2. My blog on the dating of the historical Heathen holidays here:
Here is Chapter 15 of the saga "Hakon the Good"
HAKON SPREADS CHRISTIANITY.
"King Hakon was a good Christian when he came to Norway; but as the whole country was heathen, with much heathenish sacrifice, and as many great people, as well as the favour of the common people, were to be conciliated, he resolved to practice his Christianity in private. But he kept Sundays, and the Friday fasts, and some token of the greatest holy-days. He made a law that the festival of Yule should begin at the same time as Christian people held it, and that every man, under penalty, should brew a meal of malt into ale, and therewith keep the Yule holy as long as it lasted. Before him, the first night of Yule was on hǫkunótt, that is midwinter night, and Yule was held for three nights. It was his intent, as soon as he had set himself fast in the land, and had subjected the whole to his power, to introduce Christianity. He went to work first by enticing to Christianity the men who were dearest to him; and many, out of friendship to him, allowed themselves to be baptized, and some laid aside performing blot." Skipping ahead to Chapter 18 of Hakon the Good's Saga: "King Hakon came to the Frosta-thing, at which a vast multitude of people were assembled. And when the Thing was seated, the king spoke to the people, and began his speech saying that it was his message and entreaty to the bondes and householding men, both great and small, and to the whole public in general, young and old, rich and poor, women as well as men, that they should all allow themselves to be baptized, and should believe in one God, and in Christ the son of Mary and refrain from all blots and heathen gods; and should keep holy the seventh day, and abstain from all work on it, and keep a fast on the seventh day. As soon as the king had proposed this to the bondes, great was the murmur and noise among the crowd. They complained that the king wanted to take their labour and their old faith from them, and the land could not be cultivated in that way." Please visit us on Facebook, the group "Saxon Heathenry"
The Wiccan "Wheel of the Year" is shown below. The Wiccan Wheel is not applicable to historical Germanic Heathenry. Please note that Wiccans are not invading Asatru pushing their ways on Asatruar. Asatruar are adopting Wiccan rituals and holidays due to laziness and not doing research on what the "Old Ways" are. This is not the fault of Wicca, which is a fine tradition, but Wicca is not the Old Ways of historical Norse/Germanic Heathenry.