This is the first festival of the new year. In total there are eight festivals of the pagan year which starts with Yule and ends with Samhain (halloween).
Date celebrated:- 21st/22nd December. Dates change. (its the shortest day of the year)
so what is Yule (Winter Solstice) and why do we celebrate it?
At the Winter Solstice the Witches celebrate the rebirth of the God as he returns to bring warmth and fertility to the hearts of humankind. The Old Custom believed that lightes and candels were used tolure him out of the womb of his mother.
It id therefore custom for wiccans to leave candles burning or leave the oil lamp burning all night.
One legend associated with this holiday, the Oak King (of the waxing year) fights and suppresses the Holly King (of the waning year) at this time. Witches see the Holly King as Father Christmas as he wears red and he has a red hat with holly on it. He also drives a sleigh of eight deer (symbols of the God).
Witches envision the Yule tree as the "wish tree". The pine represents the Goddess and as the pine trees don't die throughout the year (loose it leaves) it is custom to save a part of the truck (yule log) and save it until next year. It is seen as a lucky symbol and attracts wealth and prosperity into your home. You then burn the Yule log next year on yep you have guessed it on the Winter Solstice.
And thats basically it. On the Winter Solstice like the other seven festivals of the year the witches conduct a ritul on this evening.
If you were wondering, we do exchange presents on this night, so if you join the Wicca Way don't worry you will not miss out on the presents.