The Yule Log
The tradition of burning the yule log, goes back about 1000 years ago in Europe. The tradition varied by culture and country, taking somewhat different forms in a similar theme. It's roots goes back to pagan European cultures who celebrated the winter Solstice and the feast of Yule. In ancient Rome, the winter celebration was called The Feast of Saturnalia. During the Yule celebration, big bonfires (Yule Fires) were made. People danced around the Yule fire honoring their pagan gods of winter.
In more recent times, the Yule log was a partially charred log from the prior year's fire. The log was kept for a year to protect the home from fires. The log was then brought out during Christmas, and very ceremoniously lit and burned. The whole event is steeped in ceremony that varied by family and culture.
Today, we talk about the Yule log. We even sing about it. But, few families really practice the traditions. The thought and practicality of keeping a charred log in your home for a year, has lost it's appeal.
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