Danish Canadian Museum Advent Calendar December 10th 2020
Yule Log Traditions
The yule log placed on the fire on the Vigil of the Nativity no longer forms an important part of Christmas. Yet within the memory of many the yule log traditions was a very essential element in the celebration of the festival, not merely as giving out welcome warmth in the midwinter cold, but as possibly something more. Viking, Jul celebrations included a symbolic fire, which involved the burning of large logs on the central hearth of the longhouse. The logs would have runes caved into them, for protection and symbolized the continuation of light despite the darkness outside, as well as providing warmth. In the shadowy light of the longhouse and the Yule log, one could often find an evergreen tree, decorated with statues of the gods, runes, pieces of food or bright clothing.
In West Jutland (Denmark) two great tallow candles stood on the festive board. No one dared to touch or extinguish them, and if by any mischance one went out it was a portent of death. They stood for the husband and wife, and that one of the wedded pair whose candle burnt the longer would outlive the other. The remains of the candle were used in various ways to benefit man and beast. Sometimes a cross was branded on them and used on the animals. In Denmark, the ends were preserved and in bad weather used to protect the house from lightning.
Today you see many different forms of Yule logs from center pieces to tasty pastry’s all with one important connection, the warmth of the fire to light up the dark, to protect from the cold.
The Yule Log pastry, often decorated with nuts, cream, or cheese (or all three) is also a symbol of the Yule fire, which before burning was inscribed with runes, and decorated with sprigs of other trees – particularly holly, which stayed green all year – another reminder of the coming of the light.
Yule log Canadian Style
This pudding is heavenly, it takes a bit of work but its worth it. To any of you who attended our Jul Nats meals this was one of our desserts. Please do read through the instructions carefully first before you start. I love this type of dessert where you make the cake a day a head of time. Decorate with ganache on the day of serving.