Yule log

log
The Yule log, Yule clog, or Christmas block is a specially selected log burnt on a hearth as a Christmas tradition in a number of countries in Europe.wikipedia
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Yule

yuletideJulDecember 21
Numerous scholars have observed that, like other traditions associated with Yule (such as the Yule boar), the custom may ultimately derive from Germanic paganism.
Present-day Christmas customs and traditions such as the Yule log, Yule goat, Yule boar, Yule singing, and others stem from pagan Yule.

Christmas

Christmas DayDecember 25Nativity
The Yule log, Yule clog, or Christmas block is a specially selected log burnt on a hearth as a Christmas tradition in a number of countries in Europe.
In Germanic language-speaking areas, numerous elements of modern Christmas folk custom and iconography may have originated from Yule, including the Yule log, Yule boar, and the Yule goat.

Anglo-Saxon paganism

paganpaganismpagan Anglo-Saxon
As early as 1725, Henry Bourne sought an origin for the Yule log in Anglo-Saxon paganism:
For instance, writing in the 1720s, Henry Bourne stated his belief that the winter custom of the Yule log was a leftover from Anglo-Saxon paganism, however this is an idea that has been disputed by some subsequent research by the likes of historian Ronald Hutton, who believe that it was only introduced into England in the seventeenth century by immigrants arriving from Flanders.

Winter solstice

midwinterJune solsticewinter
The events of Yule were generally held to have centred on Midwinter (although specific dating is a matter of debate), and feasting, drinking, and sacrifice (blót) were involved.
Many modern Christmas traditions, such as the Christmas tree, the Christmas wreath, the Yule log, and others, are direct descendents of Yule customs.

Twelve Days of Christmas

twelve days12 Days of ChristmasChristmas season
Nevertheless, the log was a huge block, lasting for the Twelve Days of Christmas, and it was not burned completely its first year: part of it was saved to light the following year's yule log.
Contemporary traditions include lighting a candle for each day, singing the verse of the corresponding day from the famous The Twelve Days of Christmas, and lighting a yule log on Christmas Eve and letting it burn some more on each of the twelve nights.

Yule log (cake)

Yule logbûche de NoëlYule Logs
The custom has now long been replaced by the eating of a log-shaped cake, also named Bûche de Noël.
Made of sponge cake to resemble a miniature actual Yule log, it is a form of sweet roulade.

Ashen faggot

Similarities have been observed with the custom of the ashen faggot, recorded solely in the West Country of England.
The ashen faggot (also known as ashton fagot) is an old English Christmas tradition from Devon and Somerset, similar to that of the Yule log and related to the wassail tradition.

Christmas ham

hamónjamónjulskinka
Numerous scholars have observed that, like other traditions associated with Yule (such as the Yule boar), the custom may ultimately derive from Germanic paganism. Yule customs and the traditions of the Yule log, Yule goat, and Yule boar (Sonargöltr) are still reflected in the Christmas ham, Yule singing, and others, which Simek takes as "indicat[ing] the significance of the feast in pre-Christian times."
Yule log

Trunk (botany)

trunkboletree trunk
The Yule log, Yule clog, or Christmas block is a specially selected log burnt on a hearth as a Christmas tradition in a number of countries in Europe.

Hearth

hearthsHearth Taxforge
The Yule log, Yule clog, or Christmas block is a specially selected log burnt on a hearth as a Christmas tradition in a number of countries in Europe.

Europe

EuropeanEUEuropean continent
The Yule log, Yule clog, or Christmas block is a specially selected log burnt on a hearth as a Christmas tradition in a number of countries in Europe.

Tradition

traditionaltraditionscustom
The origin of the folk custom is unclear.

Germanic paganism

GermanicpaganGermanic mythology
Numerous scholars have observed that, like other traditions associated with Yule (such as the Yule boar), the custom may ultimately derive from Germanic paganism.

Christianization of Scandinavia

ChristianizationChristianization of SwedenChristianized
After the Christianization of Scandinavia, it may have been incorporated into the Christian celebration of Christmas there, with the pagan significance no longer remaining.

Inflammation

inflammatoryinflammatory responseinflamed
While the mostly burned wood waited for its duty to light a new yule log, it was kept around the house to ward off a range of misfortunes, including toothaches, mildew, lightning, housefires, hail and chilblains (an inflammation of small blood vessels brought on from exposure to cold).

Blood vessel

vascularblood vesselsintravascular
While the mostly burned wood waited for its duty to light a new yule log, it was kept around the house to ward off a range of misfortunes, including toothaches, mildew, lightning, housefires, hail and chilblains (an inflammation of small blood vessels brought on from exposure to cold).

Bede

Venerable BedeThe Venerable BedeSaint Bede
For Bede tells us, That [sic] this very Night was observed in this Land before, by the Heathen Saxons.

Mōdraniht

modranectMothers' NightMothers-night
They began, says he, their Year on the Eight of the Calenders of January, which is now our Christmas Party: And the very Night before, which is now Holy to us, was by them called Mædrenack, or the Night of the Mothers … The Yule-Clog therefore hath probably been a Part of those Ceremonies which were perform'd that Night's Ceremonies.

Twelfth Night

Twelfth Night, or What You Willthe playWas ihr wollt
Many, if not all, of the various customs and traditions at one time extensively witnessed at Christmas and the 'old' New Year stem from this common source, e.g. Twelfth Night bonfires, including 'Old Meg' from Worcestershire and burning the bush from Herefordshire, first footing, etc. … Any traces of primitive ritual such as scattering of burnt ashes or embers as an omen of fertilisation or purification have long since disappeared.

Blót

sacrificesacrificessacrificed
The events of Yule were generally held to have centred on Midwinter (although specific dating is a matter of debate), and feasting, drinking, and sacrifice (blót) were involved.

Rudolf Simek

Simek, Rudolf
Scholar Rudolf Simek comments that the pagan Yule feast "had a pronounced religious character" and that "it is uncertain whether the Germanic Yule feast still had a function in the cult of the dead and in the veneration of the ancestors, a function which the mid-winter sacrifice certainly held for the West European Stone and Bronze Ages."

Stone Age

Stonestone-agestoneage
Scholar Rudolf Simek comments that the pagan Yule feast "had a pronounced religious character" and that "it is uncertain whether the Germanic Yule feast still had a function in the cult of the dead and in the veneration of the ancestors, a function which the mid-winter sacrifice certainly held for the West European Stone and Bronze Ages."

Bronze Age

BronzeLate Bronze AgeEarly Bronze Age
Scholar Rudolf Simek comments that the pagan Yule feast "had a pronounced religious character" and that "it is uncertain whether the Germanic Yule feast still had a function in the cult of the dead and in the veneration of the ancestors, a function which the mid-winter sacrifice certainly held for the West European Stone and Bronze Ages."

Yule Goat

goatjulbocken
Yule customs and the traditions of the Yule log, Yule goat, and Yule boar (Sonargöltr) are still reflected in the Christmas ham, Yule singing, and others, which Simek takes as "indicat[ing] the significance of the feast in pre-Christian times."

Sonargöltr

Yule customs and the traditions of the Yule log, Yule goat, and Yule boar (Sonargöltr) are still reflected in the Christmas ham, Yule singing, and others, which Simek takes as "indicat[ing] the significance of the feast in pre-Christian times."