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.

Recent Headlines

in Entertainment

‘Downton Abbey’ to end after season six

This photo released by PBS and Carnival Film and Television Limited shows, from left, Lesley Nicol as Mrs. Patmore, and Sophie McShera as Daisy, in a scene from season four of the Masterpiece TV series, "Downton Abbey." As it returns for its much-awaited fourth season, it remains a series about elegance, tradition and gentility, and the pressures of preserving them. The show premieres Sunday, January 5, 2014 at 9 pm ET on PBS.

Producers confirm that the next season of "Downton Abbey" will be the last.

in Music

Iron Maiden frontman returns to public eye

In this photo made available on Sunday, Aug. 15, 2010, singer Bruce Dickinson performs during the concert of the English heavy metal band Iron Maiden at the Sziget (Island) Festival on the Shipyard Island in northern Budapest, Hungary, late Saturday, Aug. 14, 2010. The Island Festival is one of the biggest cultural events of Europe with an emphasis on music.

Iron Maiden's Bruce Dickinson makes his first public appearance since undergoing treatment for cancer.

in Entertainment

‘Empire’ co-stars spark romance rumors

gracegealey

Are Trai Byers and Grace Gealey more than just coworkers?

in Entertainment

Idris Elba could be the next ‘Star Trek’ villain

idriselba

The in-demand actor is in talks to join the star-studded cast of the sci-fi franchise.

in Entertainment, Weird

Balki’s bills: ‘Perfect Strangers’ star owes $280K in taxes, mortgage payments

pinchot

Bank officials say actor Bronson Pinchot hasn't been heard from in over a year.