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Ashen Klauss is a little known German version of Klaussmann. His clothing is covered in soot and he carries a bundle of burnt sticks used to light the Yule-Log. He derives from ancient hearth worship, which most likely influenced the reference to chimneys and fireplaces in many of the gift giver legends.
The lighting of the Yule-Log and candles were a pre-christian practice to represent the return of the sun during the darkest days of winter. In many countries the Yule Log was considered to bring good luck. It was lit on the morning of Christmas Eve and burned continuously for the twelve days of Christmas. The ashes were spread over fields to bring fertility or put into wells to purify the water.
It is interesting to note that according to William Sansom in his book “A Christmas Book”, the switches that are now viewed as being used as punishment were once viewed as a symbol of good wishes and fruitfulness.
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