Yes, it’s clearly phallic, but is that all there is to the story of the Yule Log? As I discovered earlier today, the answer is a resounding, “NO”. Across the vast chasms of culture, time, and space, human societies have erected countless traditions surrounding this formidable piece of hardwood. During this season of Advent, Scripture tells us to “Behold” the works of the Lord, and so I say to you today, behold the twisted works of men:
1. The “Original” Yule Log.
The “original” yule log may have come to us from those filthy Norsemen, who pounded the log in homage of the mighty Thor, well known for coming with thunder. When not foiling Loki or drinking copious amounts of mead in the halls of Valhalla, Thor spent his idle days pounding his own log with those steamy little warrior minxes, the Valkyries. Lucky bronzed bastard.
2. The “Great Ashen Faggot” of Dartmoor.
In spite of the above pic, I’m not talking about a gay guy with a bad case of eczema. This version of ye’ olde Log hails from the dreary shores of England, and was lit as part of the Twelve Days of Christmas. Incidentally, it has something in common with the aforementioned gay guy, in that both are totally ffllaaaaming!
3. The “Caga Tio” or Catalonian “Poop Log”.
In blessedly short order, our strange and mysterious journey reaches the apex of its weirdness…Behold, the Catalonian “Poop Log”. One of the few anthropomorphic manifestations of our woody friend, little Tio is not only painted with a happy face, but fed over the course of many days, and protected from the harsh elements with his very own blanky.
Beginning on the feast of the Immaculate Conception, the log gorges on an assortment of goodies, including many that violate one of my cardinal rules of consumption (never eat anything that, going in, looks the same as it will coming out). On Christmas day the feasting log is given a rude surprise, when the vicious Catalonian children–who are clearly starving orphans–set upon it with brutal fury. As they beat the bark from little Tio, they cry, “Poop, Log! Poop.”
Understandingly afrighted by this un-Christian display, the log proceeds to excrete the eaten goodies, which include candies, nuts, nougat, and figs. As wikipedia recounts, “What comes out of the tio is a communal rather than individual gift, shared by everyone present.”
In other words, if you spend the holiday with the Catalonians, you’d best wipe that shit-eating grin off your face, as you too will bear the mark of their common shame.