For thousands of years, people all over the world have celebrated the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year when the sun is lowest in the sky. In the Northern Hemisphere the Winter Solstice occurs on December 21 or 22.
The Vikings of Northern Europe called this festival Yule.
To celebrate Yule, the Vikings would burn the biggest log they could find. Horses were often needed to pull the log to its place. The log was burned to erase the bad things from the past year and to celebrate the start of the new year.
When the Vikings invaded Britain they brought the Yule Log tradition with them. People would burn a log in the town square and toss holly into the fire to bring good luck.
As time passed, the Yule Log burning was moved from Winter Solstice to Christmas Day.
Today, some families in England still burn a Yule Log on Christmas to bring good luck in the coming year. Other families bake a cake shaped like a log.
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