Period Yule celebrations.
NOTE: See also the files: 12th-nite-msg, Christmas-art, St-Nicholas-art, Xmas-art, Candlemas-msg, holidays-msg, wassail-msg, Halloween-art, Holiday-Celeb-lnks, Halloween-lnks, Jewsh-Holiday-art, Spring-Celeb-lnks.
This file is a collection of various messages having a common theme that I have collected from my reading of the various computer networks. Some messages date back to 1989, some may be as recent as yesterday.
This file is part of a collection of files called Stefan's Florilegium. These files are available on the Internet at: http://www.florilegium.org
I have done a limited amount of editing. Messages having to do with separate topics were sometimes split into different files and sometimes extraneous information was removed. For instance, the message IDs were removed to save space and remove clutter.
The comments made in these messages are not necessarily my viewpoints. I make no claims as to the accuracy of the information given by the individual authors.
Please respect the time and efforts of those who have written these messages. The copyright status of these messages is unclear at this time. If information is published from these messages, please give credit to the originator(s).
Mark S. Harris AKA: THLord Stefan li Rous
Stefan at florilegium.org
From: sclark at epas.utoronto.ca (Susan Clark)
Subject: Re: period decorations for Christmas
Date: 5 Dec 1993 13:18:53 -0500
Organization: EPAS Computing Facility, University of Toronto
My research into this area (a hard one to try, since there are
so many books published on the subject which call Victorian customs
"ancient customs") is that evergreens have a very long association with
the holiday season, dating to the pre-Christian era. Many of these
plants were treated symbolically in some of the nativity parts of
th cycle plays and pageants. Holly, mistletoe (which was eventually
banned in churches because of its pagan associations) and roses (Jesus=
the christmas rose) are all good choices, too.
If you want to add a fun touch, put up gold balls. They're
a symbol of St. Nicholas (whose feast day is nigh, by the way).
Candles would not be out of place. They rarely were in the Middle
Canton of Eoforwic
sclark at epas.utoronto.ca
From: HPGV80D at prodigy.COM (MISS PATRICIA M HEFNER)
Subject: Christmas trees in period
Date: 30 May 1995 21:07:10 -0400
According to an old version of the Encyclopedia Brittanica (1957),
Christmas trees were first used by St. Boniface, the English missionary
to the continental Germans, in the eighth century. The source claims
that Boniface replaced the sacrifices to Odin's sacred oak by a fir
tree decorated in honor of the "Christ child". The only mention of
Martin Luther is the possibility that he first used candles on trees
for Christmas. I couldn't find anything else on Christmas in period; I
don't think it was nearly as imortant to the Church then as Easter was.
Date: Thu, 28 Nov 1996 19:04:22 -0600
To: ansteorra at eden.com, sca at mc.lcs.mit.edu
From: gunnora at bga.com (Gunnora Hallakarva)
Subject: Yule in Iceland / Viking Holiday Traditions
I received the following interesting information From: ambatt at infinet.com
With the Yule holiday time approaching, there is an interesting
web-page concerning Yule Traditions and Yule Lore in ancient and
modern Icelandic times that includes information as it relates to
the subject matter of ONN, at the following URL:
This Icelandic web-page (in English), by Gardar J—hann (Gardar
Jo'hann), includes such topics as Origin of Yule, Saga Yule,
Medieval Yule, etc. as they relate to ancient and modern Iceland.
For those who are not able to visit that URL, the following is a
summary of that information relating to ONN, with thanks given to
Origin of Yule
A celebration of the winter solstice has been held since time
immemorial in the Northern Hemisphere. Through the ages, the
festival has had many names. It is certain that a mid-winter
festival called Yule was celebrated in the Nordic countries well
before the year 1000.
Though challenged by some scholars, the fact that Yule/J—l
(Jo'l) was celebrated in Iceland and throughout the Northern
Hemisphere well before the advent of Christianity is now widely
accepted. The exact date, or dates, that Yule was celebrated is
not certain, but probably it was connected to the full moon
nearest to the winter solstice.
The name itself has been retained in many languages: Yule -
J—l - Jul . . . Some scholars think it comes from one of the
names of ”dinn (Odinn), others have theorized that it came from
the name of Julius Caesar. And it has also been suggested that
J—l (Jo'l) is derived from the Old-Nordic word for wheel: Hj—l
(Hjo'l), the theory being that the wheel of the year has come
full circle. This ancient festival has (given us the Icelandic
greeting) Gledileg J—l (Gledileg Jo'l) - Merry Christams.
There are numerous references in the Icelandic Sagas to
celebration of Yule, but they are very sparse in their
description of how Yule was celebrated in those times. No real
contemporary accounts exits, but a piece of verse, considered to
be from the Ninth Century, refers to the "drinking of Yule".
There are numerous other references to this "drinking of Yule",
for example in The Story of Hàkon Hàreksson (Ha'kon Ha'reksson),
it is stated: "He held three main feasts every year, Yule, middle
of winter and Easter".
In Egils saga SkallagrÕmssonar (Skallagrimssonar), the Yule
feast of Egil's friend Arinbjšrn (Arinbjo:rn) hesir is detailed,
and in The Saga of Grettir, two farmers in Norway drink Yule
Almost the only thing that comes through clearly in the
references to Yule in the Saga era, is that feasts, drinking and
Yule Ale were common features. In Eyrbyggja saga, the existence
of a large amount of ale just before Yule is a fact that seems to
be too normal to require explanation. And in the Saga of
Greenland, EirÕkur raudi, Eric the Red, was worried that he could
not prepare for Yule as well as he knew he should. But
Þorfinnur Karlsefni (Thorfinnur), just back from America, saved
the day, as he had carried with him malt for ale making.
These Yule Feasts were of course different in size and
splendour, from the chieftains inviting scores of people to Yule,
to just the residents of one farm "drinking Yule" together. In
the larger Yule feasts of the chieftains, guests received gifts
upon departure, and this departure was after feasting several
The chieftains also wanted to decorate their houses for Yule,
as can be seen when farmer Ingjaldur, who did not like foreigners
at all, accepted decorative material from a Norwegian to use at
his yule feast. The proud farmer, who detested foreign
merchants, could not resist having the best decorative materials
available for his Yule feast, even if the source was a foreign
There are no indications that any religious practices were
connected to Yule in the Saga era . . . as the contemporary
references are lacking.
In early Medieval times, the Yule feasts were continued, even
if the occasion had changed. In the Thirteenth Century, several
of the most powerful chieftains in Iceland, such as the historian
Snorri Sturluson, his nemesis Gissur Þorvaldsson (Thorvaldsson),
Snorri's kinsmen Þ—rdur (Tho'rdur) Kakali and Þorgils Skardi
(Thorgils Skardi), all hald large feasts at Yule. And so did the
Bishops of the bishopric at H—lar (Ho'lar). These were large
feasts, which lasted for several days and included dancing,
games and sports and other entertainment.
Þorlàksmessa (Thorla'ksmessa) - St. Thorlakur's Day (December
23). Iceland's major native Saint is St. Thorlakur
Thorhallsson, Bishop of Skalholt. December 23 commemorates
his death in 1193.
J—l (Jo'l) - Yule/Christmas: Celebrations start in Iceland at
6pm on Christmas Eve, Yule Eve. This may come from the fact
that in the old days, a new day began not at midnight, but at
6pm. Thus in Iceland, there are thirteen (not twelve) days
in the Yuletide season.
Adfangadagur (Adfangadagur) - Christmas Eve/Yule Eve
J—ladagur (Jo'ladagur) - Christmas Day/Yule Day
Annar J—ladagur (Jo'ladagur) - Boxing Day
Gamlàrskvšld/Nyàrsdagur (Gamla'rskvo:ld/Ny'a'rsdagur) -
New Year's Eve/New Year's Day
Þrettàndinn (Thretta'ndinn) - Twelfth Night - January 6th.
Traditional Yule Food:
Hangikjšt (Hangikjo:t) - smoked mutton
KjštsÏpa (Kjo:tsu'pa) - mutton soup
RjÏpa (Rju'pa) - rock ptarmigan
Grautur - porridge
Laufabraud (Laufabraud) - leaf bread
All comments or corrections should be referred to the original author of
this information. The original poster is:
B. N. Dixson
ambatt at infinet.com
Wassail and God Jul,
Subject: ANST - New Year's -- God Jul
Date: Tue, 15 Sep 98 06:37:12 MST
From: Gunnora Hallakarva <gunnora at bga.com>
To: ansteorra at Ansteorra.ORG
Meghann MacGuire asked:
>My niece just called me and asked if I knew what the medieval celebration for
>New Years was and about costuming for such an event. She says she guesses it
>could be for any time period. Anyone out there with the answers, cause I sure
>as heck don't have them. >
Many of our Yule and New Year's customs are derived from Germanic practice,
deriving from the Anglo-Saxons, the Danelaw, and from Continental Germanic
elements introduced to England by the British Royal Family after our period.
The most striking aspect of the pagan Germanic Jul (Yule) that resembles
our New Year's celebration is described in the sagas, where the prize boar
of the pig herds was led into the hall on Yule Eve (drugged, one strongly
suspects, to keep it docile) and people in the hall would lay their hands
upon his bristles and make oaths and boasts that must be fulfilled the
following year. The boar was then sacrificed to Freyr, god of fertility
and plenty, taking the sworn oaths of the assembled company with him direct
to the ears of the god. Feasting on roast boar followed.
Modern Norse pagan groups often bake a bread subtlety of a boar and glaze
it gold wity saffron, and use that for the swearing and then "sacrifice"
An interesting regional parallel that I discovered is that in some parts of
New England it is customary to obtain a pig figurine made entirely of
peppermint candy, colored pink, and at New Year's it is broken with a small
hammer (the hammer often comes with the pig) and everyone gets a piece. I
haven't been able to discern whether the New years' Resolutions accompany
this ritual or not.
Appropriate costuming for this would be early Norse, Saxon, or continental
Germanic. The custom may have survived in some form, but if it did I have
no idea how it was carried on between the Viking Age and today.
Date: Fri, 04 Jan 2000 23:14:43 +0100
From: Thomas Gloning <Thomas.Gloning at germanistik.uni-giessen.de>
Subject: SC - Looking for Stollen
<< Dear Friends, I have just spent the last four hours in a fruitless
search of the Web; searching for documentation for German Stollen, or
Sweet Bread. I have tracked it as far as Dresden in the fourteenth
century, but, unfortunately, the reference here is at least a tertiary
source and does not tell me where he got the information. Thus dost the
trail grow cold. Does anyone know where I can get a documented recipe
for Stollen in period? >>
Then, Valoise said:
<< I can't say for sure that Stollen didn't exist in the SCA time
period, but I have never seen a recipe for it in any German source.
Since it is bread, could it have been a product of the baker's guilds?
If so, a recipe might be hard to find. >>
I don't recall a recipe either. In addition I searched all my electronic
texts (food and non-food texts), but there was nothing relevant
beginning with "stol-". Of course it is possible, that a recipe for what
we call "Stollen" today ran under a different heading then. On the other
hand, the term "stollen" was also used for longish types of bread quite
different from today's stollen.
Anyway, here is a 14th century quotation about "stollen": on Christmas
evening, the Naumburg bakers had to give two "stollen" to the church:
- -- "in vigilia nativitatis Christi duos panes triticeos longos, qui
stollen dicuntur, factos ex dimidio scephile tritici"
(quoted from a charter of 1329 in the 'Deutsches Wörterbuch von Jacob
und Wilhelm Grimm', vol. 19, 199; they have it from: Karl Peter Lepsius,
Kleine Schriften, vol. I, 253).
This quotation documents at least the practice of the "Christstollen" in
the 14th century, even if it seems somewhat unclear, how this stollen
was made exactly. The term "stollen" originally refered to a certain
A late recipe in the "Leipziger Kochbuch" of 1745 (p. 284) indicates (if
I understand this recipe correctly) that this Christstollen was made
without butter, sweeteners, spices, raisins or any of the other main
ingredients of today's Stollen:
"645. Wie man Christ-Stollen einmachet und backet.
Nimm ein halb Viertel Mehl, siebe es in einem Backtroge auf einer Ecke.
Giesse ein Nössel gute Brühan-Hefen, und vier Kannen Wasser vorher in
den Backtrog, schütte das Mehl so nach und nach in das Wasser, und knete
es durch einander, darzu anderthalb Hand voll Saltz, knete den Teig noch
eine gute Weile, bis er sich von den Fingern ziehet. Dann thue ein wenig
Mehl in eine grosse Mulde. Nimm ein Stück Teig heraus, knete es noch ein
wenig, und la? es liegen. Nimm wieder ein solches Stück, knete es, und
la? es auch so liegen, bis er alle. Scharre alsdann den Teig aus dem
Troge vollends zusammen, würcke und lege ihn auch darzu, setze es an den
Ofen, mit einem Tuche zugedeckt, la? es eine halbe Stunde stehen, bis er
gehet. Küpfe ihn um mit der Mulde auf einen Tisch, und würcke ihn noch
ein wenig. Kneipe mit der Trog-Scharre Stückgen ab, und wiege sie, da?
fünf Viertel-Pfund zu einer Stolle komme, und zu der kleinern drey
Viertel-Pfund. Würcke die Stückgen wieder mit ein wenig Mehl, und lege
sie so lang hin, da? sie noch ein wenig gehen; dann wieder gewürcket,
länglichte Stückgen. Nimm ein klein Mandel-Holtz, und drücke auf die
Helfte in der Länge darauf, mandele es dünne. Streue ein klein weniges
Mehl, und schlage es wieder auf, da? es werde wie eine Stolle. Lege sie
auf ein Bret, bis sie alle. La? sie wieder ein wenig gehen. Wenn der
Ofen hei?, so bestreiche sie mit kaltem Wasser, backe sie fein gelbe,
und wieder mit Wasser oder Butter bestrichen".
Thus it seems to me:
1. We have (at least) a quotation about the Naumburg bakers documenting
the practice of making "Christstollen" in the 14th century.
2. The fact that the bakers made these Stollen might explain the fact
that there are no recipes for Stollen in the old German cookbooks, as
Valoise suggested. At least these recipes, if we should find some later
on, are rare.
3. The term "Stollen" only refers to a certain form. The early quotation
from 1329 does not mean, that there were sweet Christstollen of today's
type in the 14th century.
I'll keep my eyes open,
Date: Mon, 27 Mar 2000 19:19:01 -0800 (PST)
From: Terri Spencer <taracook at yahoo.com>
Subject: SC - Boars head songs
Here are three "culinary" songs from a book of Middle English Lyrics.
All are 15th century Christmas/Twelfth night songs. They all start off
with the famous boar's head, and one describes a fine yule feast.
First the one everyone has heard, perhaps even served boar to:
The bores hed in hondes I bringe,
With garlondes gay and birdes singinge!
I pray you all helpe me to singe,
Qui estis in convivio. (Who are at this banquet)
Caput apri refer, (The boar's head I bring)
Resonens laudes Domino. (Singing praises to the Lord)
The bores hede, I understond,
Is chef service in all this londe,
Whersoever it may be fonde,
Servitur cum sinapio. (It is served with mustard)
The bores hede, I dare well say,
Anon after the twelfthe day,
He taketh his leve and goth away
Exivit tunc de patria. (He has left the country)
At the beginning of the mete,
Of a bores hed ye schal ete,
And in the mustard ye shall wete;
And ye shall singen or ye gon.
Po, po, po, po,
Love brane and so do mo.
Wolcum be ye that ben here,
And ye shall have right gud chere,
And also a right gud fare;
And ye shall singen or ye gon.
The bores hede in hond I bring,
With garlond gay in portoring;
I pray you all with me to singe,
Hey, hey, hey, hey!
The bores hede is armed gay.
Lordes, knightes, and squiers,
Persons, prestes, and vicars -
The bores hede is the furst mess,
The bores hede, as I you say,
He takes his leive and gothe his way
Soon after the tweilfeth day,
Then comes in the secund cours with mikel pride:
The cranes and the heirons, the bitteres by ther side,
The pertriches and the plovers, the woodcokes and the snit,
Larkes in hot schow, ladys for to pik,
Good drink therto, lucius and fin –
Bluet of almain, romnay and win,
Gud bred, ale, and win, dare I well say,
The bores hede with musterd armed so gay.
Furmante to pottage, with venisun fin,
And the hombuls of the dove, and all that ever comes in.
Capons ibake, with the peses of the row,
Reisons of corrans, with oder spises mo.
That one loses momentum at the end, along with meter and refrain. A
few notes - not really anything new, but confirmation:
Boars head is served with mustard - all the songs insist on it!
Another word for course - mess.
Another word for chef - chief.
Among the good drinks: bruet of almond, sweet wine and wine. Could
they be drinking the almond milk?
Seems the boar "leaves the country" and "goes his way" after twelfth
night. No more fresh pork until spring?
Just one more, from a drinking song with many verses:
Bring us in no butter, for therin are many heres;
Nor bring us in no pigges flesche, for that will make us bores;
But bring us in good ale.
Subject: Re: Somewhat OT--Lord of Misrule
Date: Tue, 25 Apr 2000 06:47:40 -0600
From: Pat Larsen <indigo at rushmore.com>
To: SCA-ARTS at UKANS.EDU
Somewhat OT--Lord of Misrule
> Hello. This isn't exactly an A&S question, but I
> thought someone might be able to help. I am looking
> for books and online information about the Lord of
> Misrule--I need the medieval Christmas/Yule info, not
> the Pagan/ritual info.
Last year I also tried to research the Lord of Misrule, and found the web to
be of no help. I do have one book which mentions it -- it is "Christmas
Customs and Traditions, Their History and Significance" by Clement A. Miles,
published originally in 1912 as "Christmas in Ritual and Tradition,
Christian and Pagan." He says,
"In this volume we are more concerned with the popular Christmas than with
the festivities of kings and courts and grandees. Mention must, however, be
made of a personage who played an important part in the Christmas of the
Tudor court and appeared also in colleges, Inns of Court, and the houses of
the nobility -- the "Lord of Misrule." He was annually elected to preside
over the revels, had a retinue of courtiers, and was surrounded by elaborate
ceremonial. He seems to be the equivalent and was probably the direct
descendant of the "Abbot" or "Bishop" of the Feast of Fools, who will be
noticed later in this chapter. Sometimes indeed he is actually called "Abbot
of Misrule." A parallel to him is the Twelfth Night "king," and he appears
to be a courtly example of the temporary monarch of folk-custom, though his
name is sometimes extended to "kings" of quite vulgar origin elected not by
court or gentry but by the common people. The "Lord of Misrule" was among
the relics of paganism most violently attacked by Puritan writers like
Stubbes and Prynne, and the Great Rebellion seems to have been the
death of him."
Miles cites as a reference E.K. Chambers, "The Medieval Stage"
(Oxford, 1903) page 403
Brigid n’ Maoileoin, Chronicler/Webminister
Shire of Schattentor, Principality of Northshield
From: Maggie Rose <margaret at premier.net>
To: Tavern Yard <meridian-ty at egroups.com>
Date: Mon, 25 Dec 2000 18:23:02 -0600
Subject: [TY] Holiday Greetings!
Be of Good Chere at Christmas Time
Good husband and huswife
now chiefly be glad
Things handsome to have as
they ought to be had.
They do provide, against
Christmas do come,
to welcome their neighbors,
good chere to have some.
Good bread and good drink,
a good fier in the hall,
brawne, pudding and sause,
and good mustarde withal.
Bief, mutton, and porke, and
good pies of the best,
Pig, veal, goose, and capon,
and turkey well drest.
Chese, apples, and nuttes, and
good caroles to heare,
As then, in the country, is
counted good chere.
From Five Hundreth Pointes of Good Husbandrie
by Thomas Tusser, 1573
From: "Hrolf Douglasson" <Hrolf at btinternet.com>
To: <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>
Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] ideas please
Date: Thu, 30 Aug 2001 08:06:22 +0100
Holly is pre period in britain....it is a native
For the Christmas holiday period (christmas eve to 12th night) the house
was dressed with boughs of holly and ivy.
16th c carol...deck the halls with boughs of holly. The yule log was brought
in with ceremony.
no christmas tree though...that came in in the 1840's from germany/saxony
Date: Fri, 9 Nov 2001 10:32:13 -0800 (PST)
From: Ginny Claphan <mizginny at yahoo.com>
To: sca-cooks at ansteorra.org
Subject: [Sca-cooks] Gift Battle ala Tirnewydd
Gift Battle? Sounds almost like an iron chef referrence. ;)
So, this gift battle...does everyone bring a gift and then, people with more
coins go first in picking stuff? How do you do it?
As we play the gift battle the rules are as follows:
1. those who wish to participate bring a wrapped gift in the US$5 range. (ob
food content: food counts as a gift (ie. shortbread, cookies, etc.))
2. the person with the least amount of tokens goes first, as they can only
choose one gift.
3. the next person has the option of choosing the last person's gift or
selecting a new gift. The person they took the present from picks another
gift from the pile of wrapped gifts.
4. This continues until the person with the most tokens gets to pick the
last wrapped gift, or choose from the plethora of unwrapped gifts.
Doing an exchange this way is quite the spectator sport. The kids in the group usually accumulate quite a bit of tokens, so it's hilarious watching them try
to get the gift that the Baron had just picked. :)
Date: Tue, 23 Dec 2003 08:36:53 -0500
From: Johnna Holloway <johnna at sitka.engin.umich.edu>
Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] One of the original fruitcakes has
beenadmitted to ;
To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>
At this point it's time to mention that there is an excellent book
that details much of the history of the 12th Night and "plum" cakes
and the holiday traditions associated with them.
Bridget Ann Henisch (author of Fast and Feast) is the author
and the title was Cakes and Characters. An English Christmas
Tradition. Prospect Books, 1984.
Date: Mon, 22 Nov 2004 09:45:29 -0800 (PST)
From: Huette von Ahrens <ahrenshav at yahoo.com>
Subject: Re: [Sca-cooks] plum pudding
To: Cooks within the SCA <sca-cooks at ansteorra.org>
Here is what the Oxford Companion to Food says'
under the category 'Christmas pudding':
Christmas pudding, the rich culmination of a long
process of development of 'plum puddings' which
can be traced back to the early 15th century.
The first types were not specifically associated
with Christmas. Like early mince pies, they
contained meat, of which a token remain in the
use of suet. The original form, plum pottage,
was made from chopped beef or mutton, onions and
perhaps other root vegetables, and dried fruit,
thickened with breadcrumbs, and flavoured with
wine, herbs, and spices. As the name suggests,
it is a fairly liquid preparation: this was
before the invention of the pudding cloth made
large puddings feasible. As was usual with such
dishes, it was served at the beginning of a meal.
When new kinds of dried fruit became available
in Britain, first raisins, then prunes in the
16th century, they were added. The name 'plum'
refers to a prune; but it soon came to mean any
In the 16th century variants were made with
white meat such as chicken or veal; and gradually
the meat came to be omitted, to be replaced by
suet. The root vegetables also disappeared,
although even now Christmas pudding often still
includes a token carrot. The rich dish was
served on feast days such as All Saints' Day,
Christmas, and New Year's Day. By the 1670s,
it was associated with Christmas and called
'Christmas pottage'. The old plum pottage
continued to be made into the 18th century, and
both versions were still served as a filling
first course rather than a dessert.
Not all plum puddings were rich, festive, or
ceremonial. Plum duff, essentially a suet
pudding with less fruit and other enrichment,
remained popular for centuries.
Even before Christmas pudding had attained its
modern form, its consumption on Christmas Day
had been banned by Oliver Cromwell. This was
not simply a sign of his Puritan attitudes. The
Christian Church everywhere was conscious that
Christmas was merely a veneer of the old Celtic
winter solstice fire festival celebrating the
'rebirth' of the sun after the shortest day,
21 or 22 of December. This is still frankly
celebrated in the Orkneys with the rite of Up
Helly A, when a ship is burnt. Signs of paganism
keep emerging: for example the Yule Log, a huge
log which is kept burning for all twelve days of
the festival, and is still commemorated in the
traditional French log-shaped Christmas cake.
Other relics are the candles on the Christmas
tree (imported from Germany in the time of Prince
Albert), and the flaming pudding itself. There
had been a similar official attitude in Scotland
towards the consumption of the Black Run on
What currently counts as the traditional
Christmas pudding recipe has been more or less
established since the 19th century. Usual
ingredients are: suet, brown sugar (not always)
; raisins; sultanas; currants; candied peel;
breadcrumbs; eggs; spices such as cinnamon,
nutmeg, and cloves, or allspice or mixed spice;
and alcohol (e.g. stout, rum, brandy). Optional
ingredients include flour, fresh orange or lemon
peel, grated carrot or apple, almonds. The
result is a remarkably solid pudding which has
to be boiled for many hours then preferably left
to mature for up to a year and reboiled on the
day. A large pudding resists this treatment
better than small ones--though few are as large
as the one made in Devon in 1819, which weighed
over 400 kg (900 lb).
The pudding is traditionally served with rum or
brandy butter (US hard sauce) made from butter,
sugar, and spirit. It is topped with a sprig of
holly and set alight with rum or another spirit.
This part of the tradition is still widely
observed, but recipes for the pudding itself
have been evolving in the direction of something
lighter and more digestible.
The shape of the pudding is traditionally
spherical, from being tied up in a floured
pudding cloth. Most modern puddings are made
in a basin covered with layers of foil and