The Finnish word is <joulu> (<joulukuu> 'Yule-moon' = December). The Latin origin hypothesis looks to me like a learned variety of the old game of folk etymology. The connection with "wheel" (PIE *kWekWlo-) is popular but completely unacceptable (I suppose it's the superficial similarity of Modern English Yule to Norwegian hjul that attracts amateur etymologists). If Proto-Germanic or older, the term should be reconstructed as *jeu-l-. Perhaps it has something to do with PIE *h2jeu- 'vital force, youthful vigour' -- but this is just another guess.
----- Original Message -----
From: Pavel Iosad
Sent: Tuesday, March 20, 2001 9:39 PM
Subject: RE: Finnish loans [norse_course]

> "jól" (=yule) was indeed part of the list I quoted.
> Also note that words like geohol, gehhol, geol, geola
> are documented in Anglo-Saxon. Also in the Gotic language
> there is "fruma-jiuleis" = the month of November.
> All this shows that the word "jól" is an old one.
> But when the Icelandic Annals say that this name
> was introduced in honour of Julius Caesar, how seriously
> are we to take this? It is of course relevant to consider
> that it was Julius Caesar who *was* responsible for an
> important calendar reform. But the question is whether
> the Icelandic annalists are merely speculating, or -
> what would be more interesting - are passing on a genuine
> tradition.

Looks like speculation to me - the chronists were good at ascribing
Roman origin to everything they saw (take Geoffrey of Monmouth). It
seems to be a trait of the Germanic historians. In a sense, they were
passing on a genuine tradition of Romanizing everything ;-)