We had a truly wonderful Yule this year and have picture to prove it. They are still on the camera though and won't be up for another day or two. In the meantime, here is an explanation of Yule, the winter holiday we chose to celebrate and some of my favorite Yule or Winter Solstice images. Info courtesy of Wiki of course. Images of Bubbaboy and Supertot running amok with presents and rolling in wrapping paper are imminent (and well worth the wait.)
The winter solstice occurs at the instant when the Sun's position in the sky is at its greatest angular distance on the other side of the equatorial plane from the observers hemisphere. Depending on the shift of the calendar, the event of the winter solstice occurs some time between December 20 and December 23 each year in the northern hemisphere, and between June 20 and June 23 in the southern hemisphere, during either the shortest day or the longest night of the year, which is not to be confused with the darkest day or night or the day with the earliest sunset or latest sunrise.
The seasonal significance of the winter solstice is in the reversal of the gradually lengthening nights and shortening days. How cultures interpret this is varied, since it is sometimes said to astronomically mark either the beginning or middle of a hemisphere's winter. Winter is a subjective term, so there is no scientifically established beginning or middle of winter but the winter solstice itself is clearly calculated to within a second. Though the winter solstice lasts an instant, the term is also colloquially used to refer to the full 24-hour period of the day on which it occurs.
Worldwide, interpretation of the event has varied from culture to culture, but most cultures have held a recognition of rebirth, involving holidays, festivals, gatherings, rituals or other celebrations around that time.
The word solstice derives from Latin sol (sun) and sistere (to stand still).