Wednesday, December 14, 2005

The Yule Log Ceremony

The Christmas Yule Log Ceremony. Students throw pieces of holly into the fire.
(Click pictures for larger view)
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The Yule Log Tradition
Burning a Yule log is the oldest Christmas tradition there is. It started even before the first Christmas as a celebration of the winter solstice. Brought to England from Scandinavia, the Yule log tradition continued with the fire representing the light of the Savior instead of the light of the Sun. On Christmas eve, a big log was brought the to house. Songs were sung and stories were told. Personal faults, mistakes and bad choices were burned in the flame so everyone could start the new year with a clean slate. The log was supposed to burn for the 12 days of Christmas. But, there were some rules. No squinting person or any flatfooted or barefooted woman could enter the room where the log burned. There also couldn't be any unnecessary work done until the fire went out.

Once the log was burned, a piece was saved to start the Yule log the next year. And ashes were kept under the bed as a good luck charm to protect the house from lightning and fire.
This past weekend the students at William and Mary took a break in their exams to join in the annual Yule Log Ceremony. As they gathered in the courtyard of the Wren building they were met with the college choir and various singing groups leading in carols. The Yule Logs burned in the fireplace of the Great Hall. Above a student tosses his holly into the fire, symbolizing the burning away of the semester's stress. (Click read more for more pictures)

Nyssa throws her holly into the fire. Back in the courtyard cookies and hot cider were served. Later the reading of "A William and Mary Night Before Christmas" was given with many "inside" jokes understood only by the students and faculty. Of course no celebration would be complete without a visit from Santa.

President Nichols donned his Santa suit (with the yellow Tribe shirt underneath) and addressed the students, reading the traditional "How the Grinch Stole Christmas". I'm sure he was met with cheers. Nyssa said the courtyard was full of students and all had a great time. The first words out of her mouth afterwards were, "I GOT A PICTURE WITH THE PREZ!!! AHHHHHHHH!!!!!! And I look cute in it too." Yes she does and so does her roommate and her friend Paul from Geology class.

This picture warms a mother's heart. My child surrounded by her circle of friends, healthy and happy. Merry Christmas everyone.

All pictures were by Nyssa and friends. (end of post)


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