Old English Géol, Old Norse Jol, both cognate with PIE *ghel, “to shine; to be glad; bright and shining, gleaming and joyous; galdr, to sing joyful”. Tis’ the season of Ehre, ‘honor’ according to the Germanic tribes; hence the Yule Log which represents tradition, the Yule Boar which represents fehu, and the Yule Oath which is nothing short of one’s own worth. (Linguistics: Compendium of Anglo-Saxon and English Dialects, 1876CE)
In Yorkshire, England, during the 1700s, there was a custom to visit each church and sing (a call the looks akin to ‘Ullr’):
Ule! Ule! Ule!
A token of rejoicing!
Fat pig to each, and puddings three,
Crack nuts and cry ‘Ule!’
-Itinerary of the British Isles, 1770CE
The Yule Log was laid-out, a fire created and kept burning for Twelve Nights; these celebrations were so significant that one reckoned their age by how many Yule’s they had lived.
Now blocks to cleave / this time requires
‘Gainst Yuletide for / to make strong fires!
-Poor Robin, 1677CE
On this First Night, Yule Cakes were made from the Yule Dough – used to bundle sweet meats, or veal mixed with dried fruit and wine. Traditional recipes include Plum Porridge and Mince Pies are still common in Europe today. As to meat, boar is the platter of choice – and judging by the oaths sworn upon both ‘boar and ring’, meaningfully significant:
The boris hed in hondes I brynge,
With garlandes gay and byrdes synynge;
I pray you all, helpe me to synge,
As you all feast so hartily!
-Boar’s Head Carol, 1521CE
Yule Gifts were given to all guests in the hall, even the Carolers who sang at every door.
So on this First Night: Start the Yule Log ablaze, eat rich pork and fruit pies, with hearty mead! For, according to tradition, these rich goods and breaded sweets are meant as a prayer for safety during the dark Winter Nights.