What the Heck is a Yule Log
You hear the term in Christmas songs and there's even a website devoted to the "Yule Log." So what is one? Like many of our Christmas traditions it date backs to our German ancestors.
Much like stringing popcorn for tree decorations, the Yule Log seems to have gone the way of more modern technology. According to Paul Hetzler with St. Lawrence County's Cornell Cooperative Extension, the tradition dates back to 6th or 7th century Germany where a huge log was set ablaze for the 12 days of Christmas.
The idea was the one log, often a tree trunk according to Paul, would burn for the entire 12 days. Afterwards, the remains would be extinguished and kept for good luck. The next Christmas, the remaining log would be used to start the new Yule Log.
Of course New Yorkers are familiar with a more modern version of the Yule Log. In 1966 WIPX-TV, took a 7 minute video of a log burning in an open hearth, looped it and aired it on their station. They plan to air the original version Christmas Eve this year from 6 - 7 p.m. They re-shot the video in 1970 because the original film lost it's quality. The 1970 version will air Christmas Day from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
SOURCE: Cornell Cooperative Extension