Christmas trees vs yule log. The tradition of burning the Yule Log can be traced back to, and before, medieval times. As an originally Nordic tradition.
Yule is the name of the old Winter Solstice festivals in northern Europe and Scandinavia, such as Germany, etc. and from which the word Yuletide was derived.
Contrary to the name, the Yule Log was actually an entire tree, carefully chosen, primed and brought into the house with great festivity.
The largest end of the log was placed into the fire hearth while the rest of the tree stuck out, The fire on the new log was started from the previous year’s Log which had been carefully stored and kept for this occasion and most likely had already been burning through the Twelve Days of Christmas. It was very convenient for this practice in a cold winter climate as the homes involved had to be big halls where everyone could gather around, with the advent of civilization it slowly lost prominence and had to be replaced with smaller versions like the customs in or Christmas festivals today.
It is traditional that the whole family helps to cut the log down and that a little bit is burnt each night. If any of the log is left after Twelfth Night, it is kept safe in the house until the next Christmas to protect against lightning, also it was imperative that the re-lighting process was done with clean hands
As the custom of the Yule Log spread all across Europe, different kinds of wood were used in different countries. In England, Oak is traditional; in Scotland, it is Birch.
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