Yuletide, or Jól in old norse, is a religious ceremony practiced by the Germanic folk, notably the northern Germanic norse folk. This ancient custom is introduced first when the chieftain and all the townsfolk gather around the hof, a religious site dedicated to the gods and goddesses, where the townsfolk feast and partake in the drinking of mead. Livestock is sacrificed to the deities and then its meat is boiled and served on a banquet together with a broad variety of different foods and drinks. Every household is decorated in pagan customization.
In dedication to the god Thor, strawgoats are made to represent Thor's goats that drives him on his chariot as he rides the skies wielding his mighty and trusted hammer, Mjölnir. This decoration also have a connection with farming, as Thor is also the god of farming, in hope for a good upcoming season.
Evergreens are cut and brought indoors for decoration as it symbolizes life, rebirth and renewal. Because of its green color never fading, it is believed that the evergreen possess godly power to preserve life and that it could defeat death, destruction and even winter-demonic presences. Because of the evergreens' strength and tenacity, they are also believed to encourage the Sun's return.
Holly, which represents the masculine element, is often used to decorate doors, windows and fireplaces. Because of its prickliness it is thought to capture or ward off evil spirits before they could enter a home and cause harm. The holly leaves, symbolic of the Holly King, represent hope and the redberries represent potency.
Mistletoe represents the female element which also holds much importance as its green leaves represents the fertility of the goddess Freya. Mistletoe is decorated over doorways and worn as an amulet for fertility.
The Yule tree is alos another important symbol in pagan tradition. It represents the world tree, Áskr Yggdrasils. The tree is decorated with gifts people wanted to receive from the gods. It's adorned with natural ornaments such as pinecones, berries and other fruit, as well as symbols sacred to the gods and goddesses.
The Yule log is a symbol of honouring the god Thor, by felling a log from an ash tree and then burning the Yule log. It is believes that, the longer the Yule log burned, the faster the sun would come to warm the earth.
Other traditions associated with Jól is the lighting of candles, symbolizing the light and warmth of the sun, and were used to chase away evils and lure back the returning sun.
Wreaths symbolize the wheel of the year and life, and completion of another cycle. Made of evergreens and adorned with cones and berries, hung as decoration throughout the home. Wreaths are also gifted to symbolize the infinity of goodwill, friendship and joyfulness.
Bells are rung during the Winter Solstice to drive away demonic powers that surfaced during the dark time of the year. They were rung in the morning as everyone began to wake to chase away the dark days and herald in the warmer, brighter days following the solstice