Yule-Tide in Many Lands
With the coming of the Saxons, higher revelry reigned, and a Saxon observance of Yule-tide must have been a jolly sight to see. In the center of the hall, upon the open hearth, blazed a huge fire with its column of smoke pouring out through an opening in the thatched roof, or, if beaten by the wind, wandering among the beams above. The usually large family belonging to the house gathered in this big living-room. The table stretched along one side of the room, and up and down its great length the guests were seated in couples. Between them was a half-biscuit of bread to serve as a plate. Later on this would be thrown into the alms-basket for distribution among the poor.
Soon the servers entered carrying long iron spits on which they brought pieces of the meats, fish, and fowls that had been roasted in isen pannas (iron pans) suspended from tripods out in the yard. Fingers were used instead of forks to handle