Compare Italian cognate giuncata "cream cheese-like dish" (so called because originally made or served on a bed of rushes); Middle English jonket also had this sense, which survived longer in dialects. Johnson (1755) also records a verb junket "to feast secretly; to make entertainments by stealth."
late 14c., purificacioun, "ritual purification, a cleansing of the soul from guilt or defilement," originally especially in reference to the Feast of the Purification of the Virgin Mary, from Old French purificacion, from Latin purificationem (nominative purificatio) "a purifying," noun of action from past-participle stem of purificare "to make pure" (see purify). General sense of "a freeing from dirt or defilement" is from 1590s.
Old English geol, geola "Christmas Day, Christmastide," which is cognate with Old Norse jol (plural), the name of a heathen feast, later taken over by Christianity; the Germanic word is of unknown origin. The Old English (Anglian) cognate giuli was the Anglo-Saxons' name for a two-month midwinter season corresponding to Roman December and January, a time of important feasts but not itself a festival.
After conversion to Christianity the word narrowed to mean "the 12-day feast of the Nativity" (which began Dec. 25), but was replaced by Christmas by 11c., except in the northeast (areas of Danish settlement), where it remained the usual word.
Revived 19c. by writers to mean "the Christmas of 'Merrie England.' " First direct reference to the Yule log is 17c. According to some sources, Old Norse jol was borrowed into Old French as jolif, hence Modern French joli "pretty, nice," originally "festive" (see jolly).
festival in honor of Apollo on the 7th of Pyanepsion (fourth month of the Attic calendar, corresponding to October-November), from Greek Pyanepsia (plural), literally "the feast of cooking beans," from pyanos, variant of kyamos, name of a kind of bean, a word of unknown origin (perhaps foreign or Pre-Greek), + epsein "to boil, cook." At this festival a dish of pulse was offered to the god.