Yuletide and the Hearth

The term Yuletide came to be synonymous with the Christmas season because of the tradition of burning the Yule log. At the beginning of the holiday season, a large block of oak was cut and hauled into the house. This Yule log would then form the foundation for all fires throughout the holiday season.

The tradition of the Yule log was prevalent in England, France and Germany as recently as the 1800s. The custom of bringing the Yule log into the home at the beginning of the Christmas season was equal in importance to that of bringing in the Christmas tree for many cultures.

The word Yule can be traced back to the Middle English word "Yollen," meaning to cry aloud, and is probably a remnant of the Anglo-Saxon celebrations of the discovery that winter nights were growing shorter after the Winter Solstice.

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