Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Yule Log

These days many a Christmas dinner table features a Yule log...often and iced cake. We have one each year, but ours is sliced at midnight on Christmas Eve for luck. It's my own little tradition...and superstition. It was never a part of my childhood, and I don't ever remember having a Yule log cake and actually, I don't even remember when or how it just started. Needless to say, the Yule log tradition actually comes from ancient Scandinavia whre at Juul, or the Winter Solstice, people used to kindle large bonfire in honor of Thor, and below you will find some Yule log superstitions from days gone by.

On Christmas Eve in old England, it was a custom to drag a huge log into the hall of the manorial home...where it was then let with a piece of the previous year's Yule log. It was believe that this smaller piece of wood, when kept in the cellar, would protect the home from fire. The flame of the Yule log was believed to burn out past wrongs, and it was considered very bad luck if a squinting person, a flat-footed woman, or a bare-footed person entered the hall when the fire was burning.

One form of ancient Yule log was the Devonshire type called an Ashton Faggot; this was a bundle of ash sticks bound with nine ash hoops. On Christmas Eve, the farm laborers would drag the faggot by two horses to their master's home where everyone, rich and poor, would celebrate the day with fun and games such as apple bobbing, sack races, and jumping for cake which were suspended from the ceiling. And whenever one of the ash hoops opened in the fire, the master had to provide a fresh bowl of cider.

And finally, in Cornwall, the log was called the Mock; it was a special holiday for the children who would be able to say up till midnight and drink to the mock.


  1. Yule log cakes are a good modern equivalent!

  2. personally I like a nice fire on Christmas eve... and your tradition with the yule log cake is good also. it is a time of traditions...