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 Headlines

in Music

This week’s top alternative tracks

georgeezra

LISTEN: This week's top alternative songs, according to the weekly Billboard chart.

in Entertainment

See what’s new on Netflix this month

17-overlay6

Are you over fireworks and cookouts? Stay inside and binge on these movies and shows that are now showing on Netflix.

in Entertainment, Sports

Mayweather, Pacquiao, Perry among the ‘best paid’ celebrities

maypac

Musicians and athletes dominate the world's highest-paid celebs, according to the latest rankings.

in Entertainment, National

Celebrate safely with these fireworks tips

Since Independence Day falls during the work week, members of St. Richard Catholic Church celebrated the holiday on Sunday, June 30, 2013, with a picnic-style outing complete with fireworks that could be seen throughout the northeast Jackson, Miss. neighborhood. The long streamers were recorded in a 13-second time exposure. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

Don't be one of the thousands of Americans injured by fireworks on July Fourth. Stay safe and have a happy holiday!

in National, Viral Videos

WATCH: The origin of fireworks

17-overlay

The history behind the July Fourth firecrackers that mark our Independence Day celebrations.