Fun Etymology Special – Jul

God jul, dear friends!

We know, we know, it’s only Monday, but, this week, we have a special etymology for you: Today’s word is “Jul”!
‘Jul’ is the Scandinavian word for, you guessed it, Yule (though, technically, it functions more like ‘Christmas’). The word comes to us from Old Norse jól, meaning ‘midwinter season’, which comes from Proto-Germanic *jehwlą, meaning ‘festivity’, which comes to us from PIE *jekə- meaning ‘joke, play’. The English equivalent, Yule, comes from Old English ġeōl, also meaning ‘midwinter season’, which may either share the same root as jul or simply be borrowed from those savage Vikings plaguing the land (we’re not really sure)

But, it’s not Tuesday, so why etymology today, right? Well, today, at least two of us here at the HLC celebrate Christmas, or jul! You see, in the Scandinavian countries, you celebrate on Christmas Eve, not on Christmas day! Why? Supposedly, people here used to consider the day ended when the sun set (and let us assure you, it does that really early here in Scandinavia in December), so they thought that what we now think of as Christmas Eve to be Christmas Day!

So, in true (Swedish) fashion:
Från oss alla, till er alla: en riktigt god jul!
(From all of us, to all of you: have a very merry Christmas!)

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