The Tradition of the Yule Log
Before beginning this easy Christmas snack for kids to make in the classroom, you may wish to provide a brief history of the Yule Log:
Once a pagan ritual, the Yule Log Ceremony was celebrated during the winter solstice - which occurs around the same time as the Christmas holiday. A log was burned on the longest night of the year to honor the gods and keep away evil spirits as the sun rose in victory over the darkness and the days would soon grow longer. The cinders were thought to bring good luck in the coming year.
Soon, the burning of the Yule Log became an integral part of the Christmas festivities around Europe and England. The log was never purchased. Instead, it was taken from the owner's own land or a neighboring property. It was burned on Christmas Eve, with a little piece saved to be used to start the next year's fire. Often, holly was placed under the log to help it burn more quickly. Christmas guests would toss a little holly in themselves, to bring good luck and keep their own houses safe in the coming year.
Then, in the late 18th to early 19th century, a decorated cake symbolic of the Yule Log became a traditional French dessert. Typically, it is a rectangular yellow cake spread with frosting and rolled up into a cylinder, thus representing the log itself. Called "Bûche de Noël" or "Yule Log" in other areas, it has become a traditional Christmas dessert.