Should Yule Or Winter Solstice Be The Actual Pagan New Year?

Should Yule Or Winter Solstice Be The Actual Pagan New Year? December 17, 2019
Image from Pixabay


Winter Solstice, sometimes referred to as Yule, is the darkest day of the year. Although the ancient Yule festival actually lasted for a couple of months, typically most pagans and polytheists celebrate Yule on the winter solstice.

Although many honor Samhain as the Pagan New Year, I’m incredibly fond of the idea of the Winter Solstice actually being the appropriate day.

So what would make Yule the new year?

The Winter Solstice (or Yule) is the time of year when the sun is out for the least amount of time. After that, daylight is in increase until the Summer Solstice, and then it decreases again until the next Winter Solstice.

New months on lunar calendars are marked by the new moon, and I think honoring the Pagan New Year on Winter Solstice/Yule follows a similar pattern.

Plus, it’s much closer to the secular new year.

If we think of it as our pagan new year, what exactly would change?

It becomes more significant. How will you be honoring the increase of light into your life? What changes can you make?

Do you have improvements you wish to add to your life? Goals you want to accomplish?

Think of it as a time for something like “New Year’s resolutions” but done bearing your spiritual and personal goals in mind.

It’s a wonderful time of the year…to do magic!

Take the opportunity to use the increase of daylight into your working. Make some sort of goal or magical vow to accomplish something. Bring that light into your desire.

There’s so much you can do on this day. And not just for yourself, but others too. Find good witchy or pagan themed gifts to give people. Think of what they’d like for their own practices.

Reflect on the past, but move forward

Spent your Yule/winter solstice time thinking about what you’ve accomplished over the year and the good that’s happened.

Also remember the bad that came with, but constructively: what can you take away from what happened? How will you be honoring yourself in the upcoming year?

As a Hellenic polytheist, I honor Dionysos during this time of year as he was also honored during the winter time at Delphi. Dionysos was and is a god of many things including initiation, dance, appreciating the joy of living, and also acknowledging the cycle of life and death. As things are now dying and will be reborn in the spring, he’s a good deity to honor on this occasion.

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  • I think Imbolc works best as the Witch’s New Year. You actually begin to notice that the days are getting longer!

  • March Equinox, like the Western Zodiac has it.

  • Ian Phanes

    Personally, I see Samhain as the end of the year, and Imbolc as the beginning of the year. The months in between are a liminal time, a time to reflect on the past and plan for the future. Ritually, I tend to burn things I need to release in myself at Samhain, and light candles for things I intend to strive for at Imbolc

  • I’ve been celebrating it as New Year for a while. I’ve been a practicing pagan for a few years, and it just made sense to me.

  • I have been celebrating the time between Yule and Imbolc as New Year as long as I can remember. Yule is the closing of the year and Imbolc is the start of the new to me

  • Andria Bond

    The whole wheel is a constant cycle of death and tebirth. It always feels like a slow death March from Lamas to Samhain, when we slip into the underword, and travel with spirits between worlds and into our emotional depths. It always seems like a gestation oeriod. Around winter solstice re-emerging after working through the muck and composting what needed to be released. We clean the house out and set intentions for the coming year after reflecting on our last years journey. It’s when the ideas and dreams start being created, a slow and deliberate start to the new year. Then at imbolc, begin putting those into action as the sun is higher in the sky and brighter. But the earth isn’t awakening till Equinox or being reborn until beltane (here in the far north anyhow).
    Thanks for everyone sharing their thoughts on this.