News

Yule log signifies custom of days gone by

Yule log signifies custom of days gone by

YULE LOG: For centuries, the yule log was a tradition in many European homes. Photo: clipart.com

For many lovers of holiday sweets, the Yule log is known as a tasty treat. But for others, it’s a reminder of an old custom gone by.

As far back as the 12th century, many Europeans would mark the holidays with the lighting of the Yule log.

They’d chop down an enormous log and, according to custom, bring the wood into the house amid great ceremony on Christmas Eve.

The master of the house would often sprinkle the log with oil, salt and wine while saying suitable prayers.

In some families, the mother would then light the wood, while children had the privilege in other homes.

It was said the cinders of the log would ward off the evil powers of the devil.

The tradition persisted in Europe, and even in Canada, until the last quarter of the 19th century.

But experts say its disappearance coincides with the advent of the cast-iron stove, which largely replaced the great wood-burning hearths.

Today, the Yule log has become a traditional pastry, generally a cake roll, smothered in coffee or chocolate-flavored icing, and decorated with sugared holly leaves and roses.

Latest Stories

in National, World

U.S.: Ground offensive against ISIS months away in Iraq

Fresh
isis

Iraqi forces are months away from being able to start a sustained ground offensive against the Islamic State.

in National

Senator wants Internet companies to shun ‘fast lanes’

Fresh
leahey

U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy pressed Internet providers to not strike deals that may help some websites load faster than others.

in Sports

Royals outfielders cram for ‘quirky’ AT&T test

Fresh
dyson

The irresistible talents of the Royals' outfielders may be tested by the inscrutable elements of San Francisco's quirky right field.

in Sports

Lakers’ Nash out for season with back injury

Fresh
nash

The latest setback suggests the two-time NBA Most Valuable Player may have played his final game.

in Sports

Manning adds to touchdown record as Broncos beat Chargers

Fresh
manning

Denver QB Peyton Manning added three more touchdowns to his career record as the Broncos beat San Diego.