As Christmas comes to Salem, it also goes by another name: Yuletide. Traditionally, during the pagan holiday of Yule, a Yule log would be dressed and decorated and people would put slips of paper with their new year’s resolutions into the dressings and the log would be set on fire. It was more popular in Europe before it came over to America. Usually, participants would celebrate with friends and family, and have a bonfire or other events.
Though Circle members wish to engage in the holiday in all its spectacle, according to the Tea Mistress of The Circle, since there are restrictions of being on a college campus and the holiday involves “setting things on fire and drinking,” the organization finds alternative ways of celebrating that fit with the original traditions.
For example, The Circle holds pre-exam events to de-stress, such as tea parties, which are also part of the Yule traditions as it brings together friends and family. Another alternative that The Circle has yet to use is a Yule log cake.
Also, the winter solstice, which was on December 21, is an acknowledgement of the longest night of the year. According to the Tea Mistress of The Circle, “It’s to celebrate that no matter how dark and cold it gets, the sun always rises.”
In The Circle, there are pagans, Wiccans, eclectic Christians, Taoists, Buddhists, among other religions represented.
“In The Circle, there is not a set path for pagans, it’s more like a tree,” says the Tea Mistress. It is an inclusive organization.
In the organization there are officers who research the different religions and cultures so that the organization knows what to do and what not to do in order to “be as respectful as we can because this is sacred,” says the Tea Mistress.