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 Local

“City Hall in Your Neighborhood” brings local government to the people

meeting

A series of two events this week allowed residents some personal time with the officials that run the City of Ithaca.

in Local

New York State remains silent on future of Cayuga Power Plant

From WENY-TV

The state panel tasked with deciding the fate of the Cayuga Power Plant has been silent on the issue.

in Local

Cornell students call for changes from trustees

cornell seal

Student protesters marched on the Board of Trustees meeting on campus Thursday to demand more influence on campus and an end to rising costs.

in Local

Local police officers cover use of force in community class

police1

In Wednesday night's meeting of Ithaca's Citizen Police Academy, officers discussed how they make decisions to deal with situations.

in Local

Ithaca Police: Phone scams still prevalent

IPD Car

One scam involves a caller claiming to be from the IRS.