Yuletide is derived from two words; Yule is derived from an Old English noun geōl, and the Norse term jol refers to feast. Tide is also derived from Old English for “time,” meaning good wishes. Yuletide is a twelve-day celebration.
History of Yuletide:
In ancient times Yuletide was celebrated among the Germans. It was celebrated from mid-December till early January.
They would sacrifice an animal during Yule and smear the blood on the statues. Then they lit fires and cooked meat of the sacrificed animal, and they would burn a log. The feast continues as long as the log keeps burning.
People would decorate their homes with plants because they believed that plants had magical powers.
How is Yuletide celebrated at Christmas?
After coming from Rome, Christians tried to impose Christian celebrations on the German people. Around the fifteenth century, Yuletide was eradicated, and Christmas Holiday was celebrated instead.
Some Yule traditions are still carried out at Christmas, like log burning, the meat of sacrificed animals, singing, and eating. People still eat Yule boar, and homes are decorated with holly and mistletoe.
Difference Between Yuletide and Christmas:
In Yuletide, a log is burnt, but a cake shaped like a log is being cut in the Christmas celebration. Yule is associated with a goat that carries Father Christmas on its back. And now Father Christmas rode on a chariot pulled by two goats in Christmas celebrations.
In Northern European countries and German language-speaking areas, Yule is celebrated as Christmas. Both religions celebrate the rebirth of the sun. Over 3500 people gathered on Stonehenge to celebrate Yuletide by watching the sunrise in 2013.