Beulah Yule Log Festival…With Goats!!

No photo from today’s festivities, but boy was it fun! Phil and I took a jaunt down the road to the neighboring town of Beulah this afternoon for their annual Yule Log festival. Apparently it’s the second oldest in the country, having been celebrated continuously since 1952. The special log is hidden in the woods and when the bugle is sounded, everyone charges off to find it. The first person to find the yule log hollers “HALUEB!” (Beulah spelt backwards) and the victor rides the log as it is dragged to the pavilion where the log is sawn in two. One half is burned in this year’s Yule fire and the other half is saved to help start next year’s fire. The finder is toasted with wassail and everyone sings carols, eats cookies, and drinks wassail around the Yule fire. I’d heard about this event for several years but always after the fact. This year I was determined not to miss out and marked the date ahead of time. I’m so glad I did! This will doubtless become an annual tradition for us.

Of course, no tradition is worth celebrating without goats! Phil and I took Nubbin and Petunia since they are still small and easy to manage and because it’s high time they started getting out by themselves and getting used to crowds and dogs and cars. Turns out they have no problem with any of those things, although one of the dogs was about to wet himself in his excitement over seeing a goat for the first time. His owner never could get him to calm down in the two hours we were there even though Petunia came right up and introduced herself to him. The kids loved the goats and gave them as many cookies as they would eat. It’s a wonder they didn’t both go into a sugar coma.

By far the best part of the day, though, was the hunt for the Yule Log. The moment the bugle sounded, the goats leaped into action and charged ahead, straining at their leashes like bloodhounds on a scent. Phil and I were dragged over hill and dale as they plunged through the snow, heads down, ears pricked, tails wagging. It’s like they knew everyone was looking for something and they were going to be the first to find it! Unfortunately, however, goats do not make very good Yule Log trackers. They took us on a wild goose chase where we found many nice logs, but none of them the right one. However, I don’t think the goats realized that they weren’t the victors. They excitedly joined the happy, cheering throng that accompanied the log as it was dragged in jubilant celebration back to camp. Once there, they were treated to more cookies and attempted to treat themselves to wassail. They were petted, fussed over, and photographed by everyone. We were told we would have to bring them back again next year. You can’t have a proper nordic Yule Log celebration with out goats! The goat is one of the most important traditional symbols of the Scandinavian Christmas. I can’t believe they’ve left Yule Goats out of their celebrations for this long. We shall have to remedy that in future!

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