Yule, or midwinter, was observed each year by the Hobbits of the Shire (and likely by the Hobbits and Men of the Bree-land as well — and possibly even further afield, in Rohan). There were two days of Yule, the first being the final day of the year (corresponding to 21 December of our modern calendar) and the second being the beginning of a new year. The month prior to Yule was Foreyule, and the month following, Afteryule. The two days of Yule were in the middle of the six-day-long Yuletide festival, a midwinter celebration. The names of Yule and its associated months are translations of the Westron words in the Hobbitish dialect, which remain unknown; in the Primary World they were the names of a similar festival and two months in the pagan Germanic calendar (in Old English, Ærra Jéola and Æftera Jéola). While little is known about how the Hobbits celebrated Yule, it is reasonable to assume that their festival included elements of older traditions from the days before the Shire was settled, traditions that were probably shared with the Northmen with whom the ancestors of the Hobbits were closely associated. Like the Primary World traditions, the festival may have included wassailing, or yulesinging, the activity of going door-to-door to sing seasonal carols; the burning of yule-logs; feasting on yule-boar; and building a yule-goat, a large figure of a goat made out of straw. In the Primary World, there are connections between Yule and a celebration of the Wild Hunt; in Middle-earth, the Men of Rohan may have similarly associated Yule with the Vala Oromë the Hunter, known to them as Béma.
This Hobbit-lass is enjoying all the season has to offer. Now that Afteryule and the new year have begun and there are only a few days of festivities left, she wants to get in all the merriment that she can! Here in the most distant reaches of the Northfarthing a dusting of snow has fallen, leaving the country looking like a winter wonderland. Enjoying the crisp air, she builds snowmen, sips warm cider and, of course, hurls snowballs at unsuspecting victims. Though the cool weather is bracing, she is dressed up in a warm fur cloak and a fur-trimmed jacket and pants. It is one of the few times in a year that she wears boots, which for many young Hobbits is quite a novelty and one of the perks of wintry weather!
The name of this post is of course the title of one of the deeds of our in-game Yuletide festival. I’ve been enjoying running my small army of alts through the festival this year, in spite of the slight feeling of grindyness (at this point I’d better be an “honoured Yule-friend”!). But I’ve been finding it quite relaxing for whatever reason, and I’m enjoying collecting my daily sack of presents. Another fun part of my festival-going has been fine-tuning the cold-weather outfit of each of my characters, which I love doing; so today’s outfit is the result of my outfit tinkering!
- Shoulders: Snow-dusted Travelling Shoulders (bartered — Yule festival barter vendor/cosmetic clothing), rose
- Back: Cozy Bear-fur Cloak (quest reward — Forochel  Winter Cleaning), sea blue
- Chest: Elven Sturdy Leather Armour (crafted — tailor T3; or looted — world drop/general; or purchased — Rivendell medium armour vendor), sea blue
- Hands: Rhymer’s Gloves (bartered — Echad Andestel Minstrel trader or Caras Galadhon Minstrel trainer or Ost Galadh Minstrel trainer), sea blue
- Legs: Ceremonial Leijona Leggings (crafted — tailor T5/Lossoth reputation), rose
- Feet: Shoes of the Mighty Verse (bartered — Twenty-first Hall Minstrel trainer) — Minstrel), sea blue
Tips: The Cozy Bear-fur Cloak is rewarded from the Forochel quest “Winter Cleaning”; two other cloaks that share the same skin are included in the quest’s reward options. If you don’t have the Snow-dusted Travelling Shoulders, a very good alternative might be the Ceremonial Shoulder Guards of the Elder Days (bartered — skirmish camp cosmetics quartermaster/Rift cosmetic clothing – light), dyed rose or sea blue.
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