Traditionally a large log would be selected on Christmas Eve, where it would be carried home and decorated. Those helping to carrying the log were ensured good luck for the coming year.
When the log was placed in the fireplace a blessing was said and wine poured over it to welcome the log into the home.
Finally the log was lit with a torch made from a piece of the previous year’s log. After lighting it was hoped that the log would keep burning through the twelve days of Christmas.
Why twelve days? This is where we delve back further into history. It is thought that the Celts believed that at the end of the year the sun stood still for twelve days, making the days shorter and shorter. If the log was kept burning bright the sun might be persuaded to start moving again!
And the word ‘Yule’? It is likely to be an ancient European word for a winter festival.