During the Tudor period, a large ‘Yule’ log would be selected and taken home from the forest on Christmas Eve. There it would be adorned with ribbons and laid upon the hearth until Candlemas, when it would be burned. Part of the Yule log would be kept until the following year to bring good fortune. The tradition of the Yule log is believed to “have arisen from the Viking invaders who lit huge bonfires to celebrate their midwinter festival of light.
The following poem describes what to do with the Yule log at Candlemas:
Kindle the Christmas brand, and then
Till sunset let it burn
Which quenched, then lay it up again
Till Christmas next return.
Part must be kept wherewith to teend
The Christmas log next year;
And where ‘tis safely kept, the fiend
Can do no mischief there.
Ceremonies for Candlemas Day by Robert Herrick
The tradition of the Yule log is not exclusive to England. Historically, there are variations of the Yule Log in many other European countries. Here are some alternative names for a Yule log in 8 different languages. Can you match them to correct countries?