The Yule Log for Christmas – a tradition

There are many things which we can associate with Christmas. There is the Christmas tree and there is the mistletoe. When we say Christmas we think of carols and lights and decorations. Likewise another thing that comes to our mind is the Yule Log. For what we know the Yule Log is a cake baked in the shape of the Yule log and we generally have it for the Christmas feast. However there is a history behind it which very few of are aware of. There was a custom of burning the Yule Log from a very ancient period of time. It is essentially associated with the European customs of celebrating Christmas. It is a very sturdy log. This is generally kept on a hearth and then slowly burned. May it be the celebration of the twelve days of Christmas or the simple pagan festival as some refer to Christmas as, the burning of the Yule Log fits in all the ideas!

The burning of the Yule Log in Various Parts

Different parts of Europe have different traditions of burning the Yule log. There in the place called Provence which is in France, people and members of the family all gather together and cut the entire Yule Log which is a tree up into pieces by themselves and then put them in the fire. The log burns for the twelve days till the 6th of January from the 25th of December. Sometime there may be a few pieces of the log which are not yet burnt. People believe that it is good to keep those pieces inside the house because according to popular belief it will help them to protect the house from any kind of act of lightning. In Holland, what people do is that they keep the log under the bed. There are some countries even which just cut the log on the day of Christmas and then burn it in the fireplace in the evening. In the place of Cornwall which is in the United Kingdom the people actually “prepare” the log before burning it. They first dry the entire tree and then peel off the dried bark of the tree. It is a long process and time-consuming. The Yule Log is here referred to as the “Mock”. It is considered unlucky to get rid of the ashes on the Christmas day.

The burning of the Yule Log and the desert

There are many chemicals which can be used if one wants to burn the log in style. One can change the color of the flame according to the chemical added to it. If one wants a violet flame then Potassium Nitrate can be added. For an apple green one or for vivid green then one can add Barium Nitrate and Borax respectively. The Yule Log is also a very famous desert which is served with the Christmas dinner. It is a traditional sweet dish for countries like France and Belgium where they are a must.

The desert the Chocolate Yule Log is generally prepared keeping the Yule Log in mind. Incidentally more number of houses eat the chocolate Yule Log than the number of  houses which actually burn it today!