Yule Log Discover the story, myths and legends associated with the Yule Log. Our festive traditions and customs with their familiar symbols and meanings have evolved over time. But what is the history, meaning and origin of the Yule Log? This article provides facts and information about the history of the Yule Log as a familiar symbol, tradition and custom of our Christmas today.
The Origin and History of the Yule Log Some origins date back to the pagan traditions and customs of the ancients. Other symbols, customs and traditions have specific religious significance to the Christian religion and the Nativity of Jesus Christ. And finally there are many new, non-religious customs which have emerged due to increased prosperity and the commercialism of the festival in the modern world. Is the origin and history of the Yule Log pagan, religious or modern? The origin and history of the Yule Log is pagan. Yule. or Yuletide, was a winter festival celebrated by the Germanic and Nordic people, which was progressively absorbed into the Christian observations surrounding Christmas. The history of the Yule Log originates in the ritual known as Yuletide. The word Yule derives from the Norse words "Yul" or "Jul".
The History of the Yule Log - The Winter Solstice Many of these pagan traditions and rituals relating to the Yule log surrounded the Winter Solstice and were held in honour of the return of the sun which at the winter solstice begins gradually to regain power and to ascend on the horizon. The customs were related to the turning of the seasons from winter when crops died through to summer when plants came to life. Pagan rituals at this time revolved around death and growth and fertility.
The Origin and History of the Yule Log - Yuletide The Yuletide festival was originally celebrated from late December to early January. The most important day was 25th December which was the shortest day of the year - the day when there is less sunlight than on any other day. On the shortest day of the year many pagan people worshipped the sun which included prayers and offerings to their Sun God to ensure that the sun returned to give them a good summer. Yuletide included a pagan festival of fire. This festival included the burning of a log on the eve of the Winter Solstice to usher in the power of the sun.
The Origin and History of the Yule Log - Pagan Ceremonies The earliest known festival which involved the burning of a log was in ancient Egypt in about 5000 BC to honor Horus, their sun god. The Romans worshipped their sun god, into their Saturnalia Festival which involved burning a log for 10 nights. The Druids, who were Celtic priests, celebrated a solar festival with the log being burnt after dinner. In Celtic rituals oak logs symbolized life and pine logs represented death. The Norsemen, the Vikings, worshipped their god Thor and the name Yule derives from the Norse words "Yul" or "Jul". Their rituals were included in the ceremonies of other pagan religions. Pagan ceremonies and customs included the use of evergreen boughs, an adaptation of pagan tree worship which included the burning of the Yule Log.
The History of the Yule Log - The Christian Yule Log The early Christians, who celebrated Christmas which was then called the Feast of Lights, burnt a Yule log to symbolize the end of the world's darkness and the rebirth of Jesus Christ as the light of the world. Later Christians adapted the old pagan ceremonies and brought some of these rituals into the Christian religion. On Christmas eve, a massive Yule log was brought into a home or large hall. The log had to burn for the twelve days of Christmas, from Christmas eve on December 24th to Epiphany on January 6th. The Yule log brought good luck to the house - if the log went out it foretold bad luck. The Yule log was never allowed to burn completely out and part of the Yule log was kept in the house to start the lighting of the next years Yule log. Pieces of the Yule log were kept to protect a house from fire. Ashes from the Yule log were used as medicines.
Yule Log Christmas is celebrated worldwide, throughout the Christian population of approximately 2275 million people, but is also celebrated by many non-Christians as a secular, cultural festival. Customs and traditions are symbolized by familiar symbols and icons, such as the Yule Log, have come to represent the spirit and meaning of this special time of the year.
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"Merry Christmas, have a happy and prosperous New Year!"