Saturday, December 10, 2011

An advent calendar of sorts Day 10. The Yule log

The traditional Yule log is a survivor of Pagan celebrations to mark the Winter Solstice, the time when the sun appears to stand still in the sky, before the days begin to grow gradually longer on the approach to spring.

It was extremely bad luck to buy a Yule log. It must either be gathered from the householder's own land, or be received as a gift. The most commonly used wood was ash, and the log must be big enough to burn for twelve days.

Once it was dragged into the house it was decorated with greenery and doused in ale or cider before it was set alight using a sliver from last year's log. Each day a little more of the log would be pushed into the hearth as it gradually burned away and, at the end of twelve days, it was put out with water.

Chocolate log

These days, when very few people own their own woodland, and most of us have hearths that are far too small to hold a log that's long enough to burn for twelve days, we are more likely to represent a Yule log in chocolate!


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Anne .. the Yule tradition was very Pagan wasn't it .. and linked with much folk lore attached to it.

Or most of us don't have hearths .. I prefer the chocolate variety .. and that looks a particularly gungy gooey one .. I'll be back for a tea time snack .. cheers Hilary

snafu said...

Not a tradition compatible with central heating, so it is a chocolate log for us, but a chocolate Yule log never lasts twelve days in our house.

MorningAJ said...

Hi snafu - we can never get a Yule log to burn on the gas fire either! ;)

Hello Hilary - a lot of what's included in 'traditional' Christmas celebrations is stolen from Paganism. That's sort of what this calendar is about.

Poohtle said...

I never knew that. Very interesting thanks. I love (chocolate) Yule logs, but am usually the only one who will eat it, so it's a bit of a waste to buy one, unless of course I eat it all :)

Stew said...

I love to hear of the history of how things started. Interestingly enough, I never gave a yule log much thought. I only had ever heard of the chocolate variety. And since I don't eat chocolate, I paid them no attention at all.
I find it funny how Christianity has claimed many things for itself., when many of it's core things are in fact copies from other beliefs.