Morton Arboretum - Yule Log Celebration 2010

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Well folks for our cable viewers February is upon us, but lets travel back to January 2010 for a great winter celebration. On Sunday January 3, 2010, just the third day of 2010, The Morton Arboretum in Lisle, Illinois, USA was having it annual Yule Log Celebration. The day consisted of several activities. First there was The The first annual Colossal Cookie Caper. This tradition goes back several hundred years, back to the pirate days of old. Being on a ship for weeks on end finding ways to pass the time was limited. Because drinking massive amounts of rum, and singing songs, pirates would toss their sea biscuits across the ship making a game out of it. Today at Morton Arboretum, they do not have sea pirates but rather cookies, special tree cookies. But unless youre a beaver you probably are not gonna want to get these particular cookies, because these cookies were made of wood, cut from a log, because they needed something old and hard and since they received many compliments and protesters from throwing fruitcakes, they used pieces of logs.

Participants could throw tree cookies for 4 categories, they were distance, accuracy, style, and cookie catching, where involved two people throwing cookies back and forth. Distance was you tossed their cookie the farthest, Accuracy is how ell you could get your cookie inside a target aka hula hoop, and style was who looked the best tossing their cookie. Prices were awarded for all four categories and winners took home actual edible cookies. Then The Finding of the Yule log took place. Guests tried to find this special log using a series of clues and a special hole punch when they found the clues. Guests roamed it seemed the entire West Section of the Arboretum to find the log. After the log was found it was sawed in have, had wine poured and it and then burned in a fire.

A long time ago, in the days of the Vikings, the Yule Log was an integal part of a festival celebrating the sun during the winter solstice, during the coldest, darkest, part of the year, the Yule Log was burned in honor od the gods and symbolized the light returning to conquer the darkness. The log usually came from one of the largest trees around and required a team of horses on oxen to haul it.

The Yule Log was a household observance. Once it was drageed to the house and placed in the fireplace, it was decorated in  seasonal greenery, doused, with cider, wine or ale, and dusted with flour before being set ablaze. The log would burn through the night, then smolder for 12 days before being ceremonially put out. Often, its ashes were strewn on the fields.

Part of the burned log was saved to start the next years fire. It was often placed under the bed to protect against lightning or another mishaps

What is wassil? You may ask, and even if you did not I am gonna tell you. On festive occasions, especially Christmastide, villagers carried a bowl of spiced ale or wine from door to door, wishing health to those who welcomed them kindly, not even trying to sell magazine sunscriptions to them, wow. The saluation Wass-hail means What hail Heres to you or Be in good health.
Also this day as well as during the Holiday season. Kiddies and adults alike a special chance to catch out a simply magically train exhibit. This special exhibit featured both awesome cho-cho trains, as well as terrific storybook theme. This years theme was Hansel and Gretel and The Wicked Witch could be found not too far off. This day just would not be complete if not for this very special exhibit.


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