Tuesday, 9 December 2014

The Julleuchter from the book 'Celebrations of the SS Family' by Fritz Weitzel

The Julleuchter from the book

Celebrations of the SS Family by Fritz Weitzel

"We celebrate Yuletide in the evening, not in the morning. Yuletide is the feast of the newborn light and the renewing life. Therefore it is the feast of the commemoration of the birth of the child, of thanks to the mother, of good wishes for the growth of the whole Folk. The reason for our giving presents at Yuletide is to show respect to other members of our Folk for the part they play in its continued existence.

In Germany Yuletide is thus a feast for both the closer and the wider family, tending to exclude outsiders but for which a long lost son or one living far away is always welcome to return. The presents, which are valuable only to the extent that the giver has worked on them, are put under the tree secretly by the father. When everything is ready, the family gathers in the adjoining room for the evening meal. The table should be festive and laid with care. This is the start of the Yuletide celebration. The meal should be substantial, with a main course of carp, goose, boar or hare. These animals have been eaten at the Yuletide meal traditionally and should never be replaced by other food.

Not only the presents but the whole celebration should be full of surprises for all members of the family. The father lights the candle in the Jul-Leuchter, or ‘Jul Earthenware Candlestick’, from which the tree candles in turn get their light. On the tree should be 13 (representing 12 months plus the 13th renewing) or 27 (three lunar weeks each with nine days) candles. Three adjacent candles should remain unlit. He then calls his wife, children and any other family members into the room using a little bell. As they admire the tree he lights the last three candles and says:

This light should burn for our ancestors who are with us tonight. This light should burn for my dead comrades from the War. This light should burn for our millions of German brothers all over the world, who all celebrate Yuletide with us tonight.

After this all should sing the song ‘O Yuletide Tree, How Green Are Your Branches’, without which the Yuletide Celebration is unthinkable, and open the presents. The evening should be quiet and sincere. At the appointed time the family will listen to the Yuletide address of the Deputy Führer, feeling through it a bond that reaches out to encompass the whole Folk of German brothers. During the evening the family photographs should be shown, old family stories told, and the results of research into the family history exchanged. New Year’s Eve and the Jul-Leuchter Yuletide Eve is followed by the Twelve Sacred Days, important feast days for our ancestors during which no one worked. Wotan and his Army of the Dead were said to ride through the air; and Frigga, or Lady Holle, led the Army of the Unborn above the heads of the Folk. We should light the candles on the tree as often as possible during these days. During the night of New Year’s Eve the celebrations reach another pinnacle. The happenings of Yuletide are repeated, and again we say good-bye to the old and look hopefully to the future.

The last evening of the year is a very happy time. The children have bought small fireworks and have their own fun. Mother fetches the spoon for the casting of the lead, which only ever should be used for this purpose. The lead is melted on the spoon and cast into a bowl of cold water. The resulting figures and shapes foretell the future. Greeting cards are sent to distant relatives. Punch fills the house with its aroma, and the evening meal is as grand as the one at Yuletide.

The Jul-Leuchter, presented by Reichsführer-SS Himmler to the SS Man, is the most important symbol used throughout the year to mark celebrations and commemorations. Its cut-out Heart represents hearth and home, and the Hagal Rune peace through victory.