At first, burning a Yule log was a celebration of the winter solstice (точка зимнего солнцестояния). Days would start getting longer after the solstice. Burning a Yule log is probably the oldest Christmas tradition there is and gets its name from Scandinavia It started even before the first Christmas.
Celebrating Yule means no work as long as the special log burns. So, often a very large "backstick" was chosen to ensure a nice long celebration..
Songs were sung and stories told. Children danced. Food and wine and decorations were offered. On or about Christmas eve, the log was brought into a home or large hall. It did require gathering family, friends and neighbors.
Personal faults, mistakes and bad choices were burned in the flame so everyone's new year would start with a clean slate. The log brought good luck. It was never allowed to burn completely, a bit was kept in the house to start next years log.
The log also predicted bad luck. If the fire went out before the night was through, tragedy would strike the home in the coming year. If its flame cast someone's shadow without a head, supposedly that person would die within the year.
You can burn your Yule log like the English. You have a choice. Or if you don't have a fireplace, you can eat it like the French. Or you can use a decorated log as a center piece like the Italian "ceppo". You can light a special candle as they do in Denmark and Norway.
However you mark your Yuletide, the spirit of the tradition requires gathering family and friends for a warm and cheery celebration. Grandfather places holly branches and says prayers over the Yule log. The table is set for the ritual family celebrations Sketch for a postcard by P. Kaufman. Black ink and watercolour.
Let us set our table with the Yule Log It may be decorated with Holy branches, Baked mushrooms … And it surely looks like a real log!