Christmas is full of traditions. And the ritual of burning a yule log at Christmas is one which goes back to pagan times. The name ‘Yule’ originates from northern Europe, meaning Winter Solstice. In the dark days of winter over the yuletide period, it was the belief that the sun would stand still for the 12 days of Christmas.
So, on Christmas Eve, people would travel to the forests and select a special log which would be dragged back home, tied in ribbons and decorated. People would take turns in dragging the log as this was thought to bring good luck. The log would then be burnt in the fireplace until 12th night to keep the house warm and also to bring fortune on the home and its inhabitants. If the
log was to go out, then this would mean bad luck. How did one log keep burning for 12 days? Sometimes it would be an entire tree and would be so big that part of it would have to burst out through an open window! Sometimes a large log would be cut into bits and burnt gradually. But it was important that not all the log would be consumed, as a little piece would have to be kept to light the next yule log on the next year’s Christmas Eve.
But if you haven’t got an open fire, there are apps to download a yule log fire, complete with crackling, so it can be played on the tv. Although we think that the best way to celebrate the yuletide log is to make a chocolate one. But then the problem would be … could you make it last for 12 days?!
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