A Short Blog on the Norwegian Tradition of Romjul
This is the weird time between Christmas and New Year, where, if you are still off (and many of us are) we don’t know what the day is, we are keeping strange times – staying up late, so getting up later, eating all the leftovers and christmas food at odd times of the day, in a word, The Festive Season! Some people have already gone back to work, but there is still that peculiar feeling of nothing is “back to normal”…and oh how we crave that, despite desperately running the race to finish for christmas, a mad dash to get to that perceived “rest”…which doesn’t end up restful because we are trying to fit everything and everybody in….it feels like people have barely paused for breath and they are wishing to get back on the treadmill already
This time of between Christmas and new year is called Romjul in Norway. As always our more Northern cousins have words and rituals for these times that encompass the feelings of the season! As the Danes gave us Hygge, (you can read more about Hygge here on my Winter Solstice Blog) the Norwegians give us Romjul!
Romjul is known as the betwixt and between times .. a liminal time, where we don’t look at the date… or time. Late nights, sleep ins, pyjama days. Its a time of rest, relaxation, hibernation. Christmas and all the hustle and bustle that comes with it is over… we have passed through the solstice, we have had our Christmas day, New years eve is around the corner, something I am not fond of to be honest – never have been, and so I say, embrace Romjul!!
I have talked much about self-care, and to me, this liminal time is all about that, about really taking it easy on yourself – if ever there was a time to kick back, take the pressure off, put the “to do” lists to one side, this is it!
Lots of us are feeling under the weather, there are many colds and viruses about, the build up to Christmas, the stress, the dark days, the lack of sunlight, the stress and worry about life, are all taking their toll on our systems, energy levels.
Soon we will be racing towards the New Year. It, like many things in life, has a duality about it, as we really want to put the past year behind us, to turn our faces to the light, standing at the threshold of a new doorway, praying for better days and new beginnings, but we know that we are still in the depths of winter, there are still dark days, hard weather, who knows what is happening with the economy, the food and fuel crisis, war….the depressing list of 21st century woes goes on, and so of course, we are hesitant. Which is where we are completely manipulated again..in order to distract us from those worries our Western consumer led society as usual never lets up…before we even hit Christmas day the stores are stripped and the preparation for “the sales” has begun. More spending, more stuff, more pressure to buy!! Boxing day sales!!… ugh, I mean, what on earth makes that a pleasurable thing to do??!!
Which is where Romjul brilliantly encapsulates living in the moment! How perfect that we should just be able to give ourselves permission to just be in the now….nothing to plan for…nothing to do apart from just be…for a few days at least.
Learning To Hibernate
There is evidence that our ancient Ancestors may have hibernated, Check out the article here….and for me, I feel these few days give us the luxury of being able to connect with that – stay in the warm, snuggle down and rest. In the article they are talking about our very ancient Ancestors, pre history, but our more recent farming Ancestors would have slowed down in the Winter. Food would have been scarce and needed to have been preserved, along with energy…huddling around the fire would take precedent, I talk more about this in my Winter Solstice blog about why this is so vital for us. And we/they would have shared stories to pass the time and dream away (manifest) what they wish for the coming seasons.
As we did at the Winter Solstice, we can start to formulate the plans and ideas for the coming year – but Imbolc, our next festival is still some weeks off, and so if planning brings us back to stress and worry, just return to Romjul! I have always loved this between time, but now I know it has a name, I am really embracing that! It’s another way of returning us to stillness, to self-care, self-awareness, self-love.
I should be doing business planning…updating the website, scheduling social media posts blah blah blah,…and then there is the housework, the D.I.Y and so much to do outside – but actually, just thinking about that right now makes me feel overwhelmed, and so I am honouring Romjul. I have written this quickly, as I wanted to share it with you before it passes, and now I’m just going to go and bake some veggie sausage rolls, go for a walk to clear the cobwebs, read some books, have a nice hot bath, light all the candles and not think about any of it! It’s the one time of the year when we can really embrace that freedom of letting go and surrendering, and boy, do we still need practice at that!! I invite you to try it… and let me know how you get on.
Much love and blessings of the season,