Christmas in Norway: Yule
Some researchers believe that the ancient Norwegians, along with the other peoples of northern and central Europe, celebrated a midwinter festival called Yule. Moreover, these writers propose that a number of midwinter customs connected with this festival lingered on for centuries after the coming of Christianity. For example, old European beliefs concerning visiting Christmas ghosts and other supernatural figures may have been rooted in ancient ideas about the return of the dead at Yule. The midwinter rides of the Wild Hunt may also have grown out of the lore surrounding Yule. Some writers trace the origin of the Yule log back to the great bonfires lit for the Yule festival. The brewing of Christmas ale may also date back to ancient times. Lastly, some writers suspect that the Scandinavian Christmas mascot, the Yule goat, first kicked up its heels during the old Yule festival.