Christmas comes with its valuable
traditions for each family. These yearly activities help us keep our spirits
high and positive during the holidays. Some of these Christmas traditions
include sending letters to friends and family, decorating a Christmas tree, and
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One classic Christmas tradition is the burning of the Yule log,
while in some cultures it’s still observed others have adopted different modern
versions of this tradition.
Keep reading to understand the meaning
behind the tradition of yule logs and everything there is to know about it.
History of the Holiday Yule Log
The custom of burning the Yule log dates
back to ancient times. While the roots of the tradition are somewhat unclear,
it’s thought that it’s driven by Germanic paganism. Some sources state that
it’s a Nordic tradition.
Yule is also the name of the old Winter Solstice festivals celebrated in many parts of Northern Europe. It became the Christian
holiday when Christianity came to the British Isle and adopted some parts of
the pagan festival into the celebration of Jesus Christ’s birthday.
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Families used to carefully choose a tree
that they would bring in with the great celebration. They would place the
largest end of the log into the fireplace and leave the rest in the room. The
next step is lighting up the log with the remains of the yule log from the
previous year. The fire burns slowly throughout the 12 days of Christmas. But be very careful and keep yourself away from these biggest Christmas failures of all times.
Why is the Log Burned?
One portion of the log is burned each
evening till January 6th. In the early times, people used to gather
around the log and pray for fortunes for the new year. It was also believed
that putting a piece of the log under your bed brings luck. Moreover, the yule
log is burned and kept in the house to protect it from the threats of fire and lighting.
The Tradition Varies
The custom of burning a yule log varies
from country to country. The spirit of the tradition is the same, the practice
is different. For example, in France, the entire family has to participate in
cutting down the log. It’s then cut into further little pieces and a portion is
burnt on the 12 nights. If some pieces remain, they are kept safe in the house
for next Christmas. One interesting part of the tradition in France is that the
log is sprayed with wine before it’s set on fire. This way it smells nice as it
In the UK, the yule log is called a mock.
The custom varies as in the log is first dried out and the yule tree’s bark is
taken off before it’s brought into the house to be burnt.
The Ashes Are Useful
It’s considered unlucky to throw away the
ashes from the burnt yule log. If you’re a plant lover and have tons of
greenery in your back or front yard, you’ll be glad to hear that you can use
that ash to nurture your plants. The brunt wood contains loads of Potash which
is supposed to be great at helping plants grow, especially the ones with
There’s No Specific Yule Tree
The log can be taken from any kind of tree
that is available. In England, Oak is used as a log while in France it’s
Cherry. Most people in Scotland use Birch, and Ash twigs are also used in some
parts of Europe. There’s no restriction on what kind of wood should be used. In
places where wood isn’t available at all, such as in Ireland, candles are
burned for the 12 days of Christmas instead of a log.
You Can Create Colored Flames
Warning: This is something that shouldn’t
be attempted by children without adult supervision.
An interesting twist to the Christmas
tradition is that the flames of the log can be made to burn with different
colors using certain chemicals. Want your flames to turn violet? Sprinkle some
potassium nitrate on the log before lighting it up.
Similarly, sprinkling borax
can cause vivid green fire, table salt lead to bright yellow flames, barium
nitrate to apple green and copper sulfate turns the fire blue. It makes for a
pretty spectacle of the burning log.
If you can’t do it properly you better make your neighbours jealous by these incredible lighting ideas.
Yule Log Décor
Many cultures have kept up with the
tradition of burning the log every Christmas however, in some cultures, the modern
practice has been adopted, including using the log as a piece of decoration.
There are many ways the log can be decorated, here one way to do it.
Take a small piece of the log, rub it with
essential oil or spray a scent on it. The next step is to wrap greenery around
it using hot glue, once you’ve done that drill holes into the log. The last
step is to insert candles into the holes and your pretty yule log is ready. You
can use it as a centerpiece for your dinner table for the Christmas dinner.
Moreover, they would make the perfect gift for someone passionate about
Yule Log Cake
In many parts of the world, the yule log
has taken the shape of a dessert. This Christmas chocolate dessert is popular
in France and Belgium. It’s made of a chocolate sponge which is rolled with
cream and covered with chocolate icing to look exactly like a log. It’s up to
you to add extra details to the dessert if you want it to look perfect.
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On that note, your lesson on the yule log
Christmas tradition comes to an end. Now you can move on to understanding the
tales and history behind snowmen and sleigh rides. We wish you happy holidays and may you and your family have a great Christmas because the Lord knows we
all deserve it, after going through such tough times this year.
And if you have some annoying relatives, here’s how you can keep them away!
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