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Yule-msg – 6/27/05


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).


Thank you,

    Mark S. Harris                  AKA:  THLord Stefan li Rous

                                          Stefan at florilegium.org



From: sclark at epas.utoronto.ca (Susan Clark)

Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

Subject: Re: period decorations for Christmas

Date: 5 Dec 1993 13:18:53 -0500

Organization: EPAS Computing Facility, University of Toronto



        One word:




        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



Holiday cheers!


Canton of Eoforwic

sclark at epas.utoronto.ca




Newsgroups: rec.org.sca

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

Gardar J—hann:


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.


Saga Yule


  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.  


Medieval Yule


  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.


Yule Today


  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,

Gunnora Hallakarva




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"

the loaf.


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.


Gunnora Hallakarva




Date: Fri, 04 Jan 2000 23:14:43 +0100

From: Thomas Gloning <Thomas.Gloning at germanistik.uni-giessen.de>

Subject: SC - Looking for Stollen


Vernon said:

<< 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

form only.


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.



And another:

The bores hede in hond I bring,

With garlond gay in portoring;

I pray you all with me to singe,

With Hay!



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,

With hay!


The bores hede, as I you say,

He takes his leive and gothe his way

Soon after the tweilfeth day,

With hay!


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,

With hay!


Larkes in hot schow, ladys for to pik,

Good drink therto, lucius and fin –

Bluet of almain, romnay and win,

With hay!


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>



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

Middle Kingdom



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!


Merrie Christmasse


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


Mercy/Artemesia wrote:

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

dried fruit.


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

Twelfth Night.


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

greaseproof paper.




<the end>

Formatting copyright © Mark S. Harris (THLord Stefan li Rous).
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Comments to the Editor: stefan at florilegium.org