"The Yule Ball is of course a chance for us all to — er — let our hair down."
Minerva McGonagall on the Yule Ball[src]

The Yule Ball was a formal Christmas celebration, which was held for students of Wizarding schools who participated in the Triwizard Tournament, on the 25 December.

1994 Yule Ball


1994 was the first time in centuries that the Triwizard Tournament, and thus the Yule Ball, was held. The ball was open to students in the fourth year and above, meaning Harry Potter, Ronald Weasley , and Hermione Granger were able to attend. Younger students were also allowed to attend provided they were invited by an older student. Ginny Weasley was able to attend, as she was invited by a fourth year student, Neville Longbottom. All tournament champions were required to attend, and they must have a dance partner, as tradition required them to open the dance.

Student's Learning to dance

Gryffindor dance lessons in preparation for the ball

The announcement of the ball caused something of a panic in Harry and Ron, who were worried about their abilities to find dates. One day with the Yule Ball nearing, they made an agreement that they would both have partners by the time the returned to the Gryffindor Common Room. Harry asked Cho Chang when they ran into each other on a corridor, but she had already agreed to go with Cedric Diggory. Ron blurted out an invitation to Fleur Delacour, under the influence of her Veela charm, but then ran away. He then suggested that he attend with Hermione and Harry take Ginny, but Hermione had already — and secretly — accepted the invitation of Viktor Krum, and Ginny had agreed to go with Neville. Harry managed to get himself and Ron dates with Parvati and Padma Patil.

The Ball

"Over their heads he saw that an area of lawn right in front of the castle had been transformed into a sort of grotto full of fairy lights — meaning hundreds of actual living fairies were sitting in the rosebushes that had been conjured there, and fluttering over the statues of what seemed to be Father Christmas and his reindeer."
—Description of the decorations[src]
Yule ball

Attendants dancing at the ball

Harry wore robes of bottle green that went well with his eyes and Ron wore second-hand robes that were more "traditional". Hermione wore a beautiful gown of periwinkle blue and sported a fancy hairstyle. She also had a wonderful time dancing with Viktor. Harry and Ron did not even ask the twins to dance, instead spending most of their time sulking and watching Cho and Hermione dancing with their partners, Cedric and Viktor, respectively.

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Refreshments and food at the Yule Ball

The wizarding band The Weird Sisters played at the event, and for many, it was a great success. A feast was held as part of the ball, in which both goulash and stew were served. Several snack tables were set up as well, featuring decorations that represented both Beauxbatons and Durmstrang.

During the ball, Harry and Ron overheard a conversation between Rubeus Hagrid and Madame Maxime in which Hagrid admitted to being a half-giant. This conversation was overheard by Rita Skeeter in her animagus form, who published the information in the Daily Prophet.

When the ball ended, many students expressed their wish that it would go on longer, but Harry found himself perfectly happy for the ball to be over, as he did not think the evening particularly fun or enjoyable.[2]

Notable participants

Triwizard champions
Known partners
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Harry Potter Parvati Patil
Cedric Diggory Cho Chang
Viktor Krum Hermione Granger
Roger Davies Fleur Delacour
Ron Weasley Padma Patil
Neville Longbottom Ginny Weasley
Seamus Finnigan Lavender Brown
Draco Malfoy Pansy Parkinson
Fred Weasley Angelina Johnson
Albus Dumbledore Olympe Maxime
Pomona Sprout
Minerva McGonagall
Ludovic Bagman Minerva McGonagall
Alastor Moody Aurora Sinistra
Argus Filch Mrs Norris
Igor Karkaroff Unidentified Witch
Stebbins S. Fawcett

Behind the scenes

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  • Colloquially, the terms "Yule" and "Christmas" are often used interchangeably, but, more technically, Yule is a traditional winter festival that was celebrated in Northern Europe in pre-Christian times. It celebrated the winter solstice and involved great feasts.
  • Almost none of the identified couples during the ball had a lasting relationship; most either separated later or simply stayed friends. In fact, the only ones that remained couples for any real length of time were Cedric and Cho, who seemed to be dating until Cedric's death, and Draco and Pansy, who remained in a relationship for the remainder of Draco's time at Hogwarts (though they did not end up marrying).
    • That being said, Fred Weasley's date, Angelina Johnson, did end up marrying his twin brother George Weasley.
    • Similarly, in an alternate timeline, Ron Weasley did marry Padma Patil, however in that timeline, Hermione was his Yule Ball date, not Padma (though he did dance with her during the course of the ball, apparently what caused him to become attracted to her in the first place).
  • The word Yule is pronounced in a similar way as Jul in Danish, Swedish, and Norwegian which means 'Christmas'. It is also the root for the Finnish word Joulu which also means Christmas.
  • In the film adaptation of Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Professor Dumbledore dances with Professor McGonagall, Seamus Finnigan dances with a Beauxbatons girl, and Draco Malfoy dances with another unidentified Beauxbatons girl played by Danielle Crockford.
  • In the film, there was a traditional orchestra for ballroom dancing, followed later by Wizard-themed rock band the Weird Sisters which caused a mosh pit at the edge of the stage.
  • All the champions' dates attend Hogwarts, even though only two champions attend Hogwarts.
  • In the film, it shows Professor Snape being present along with the other professors from Hogwarts, however in the novel, Professor Snape never attended the Yule Ball itself. However, during the seventh-book, Snape's memories show Dumbledore and Snape did have a conversation about the darkening Dark marks as the Yule ball was concluding.
  • Harry and Hermione's Yule ball attire being respectively green and blue is perhaps fitting or else ironic, as those are the colours of Slytherin and Ravenclaw, the houses Harry and Hermione were considered for before being sorted into Gryffindor.


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Notes and references

  1. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 22 (The Unexpected Task) - "the ball will start at eight o’clock on Christmas Day, finishing at midnight in the Great Hall. Now then —"
  2. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Chapter 23 (The Yule Ball)