Only students in their fourth year and above are permitted to attend, although they may invite younger students to attend as their partners.
The Yule Ball was first held in 1792 to celebrate the Triwizard Tournament, which was held at Hogwarts that year.
Although the tournament itself ended in disaster, Headmaster Everard Montague decided that the ball should continue as a way of allowing the male and female students of Hogwarts (who at that time were strictly segregated) to mix socially in an appropriate setting.
For the first three Yule Balls, attendance was limited to pure-blood students. Half-bloods and Muggle-borns were theoretically permitted to attend as partners of pure-bloods, although this did not occur for several years. Headmaster Montague eliminated this restriction for the 1804 Yule Ball, despite objections from several prominent pure-blood families who believed that mixing with half-bloods and Muggle-borns would "taint" their offspring. Several families, most notably the Blacks, subsequently forbade their children to attend the ball for many years.
In 1828, seventh-year Gryffindor William Prewett, a pure-blood, and sixth-year Hufflepuff Mirabel Sprout, a half-blood, caused a stir by becoming the first "mixed blood" couple to attend the ball. They were followed in 1832 by the first pure-blood and Muggle-born couple to attend, fifth-year Ravenclaw Edward Bones and fifth-year Gryffindor Charlotte Vance.
Until the mid-twentieth century, when Headmaster Armando Dippet began to allow the playing of contemporary music at the ball, few students of modest means attended the ball, as most had not had the benefit of formal dance lessons. In 1965, Deputy Headmistress Minerva McGonagall and Arithmancy professor Diophantus Lemmas volunteered to provide formal dance lessons to students who wished to learn in preparation for the ball. These lessons were made mandatory prior to the 1994 Yule Ball, held in connection with the first Triwizard Tournament in nearly two centuries, which was hosted by Hogwarts.
Interrupted by war
In 1980, Headmaster Albus Dumbledore and the Hogwarts Board of Governors decided to cancel the Yule Ball due to security concerns in light of the escalating wizarding war. The governors declined to fund the ball in the ensuing years until the 1994 Triwizard Tournament came to Hogwarts.
Ball and fundraiser
In 1998, in the aftermath of the Second Wizarding War, Headmistress Minerva McGonagall and several other decorated veterans of the war used some of their award money to sponsor a combination Yule Ball and auction, the proceeds of which went to provide financial support and tuition to children orphaned by the recent war and to fund an "extra year" for any students who wished to complete the education that was interrupted by the war.
The fundraiser was successful, and the combination ball and auction was continued for the next two Yule Balls. In 2010, the ball resumed its previous form, and the auction was discontinued, as the British wizarding economy had improved significantly by that time, and regular donations to the various Hogwarts funds were sufficient to support their activities.
|Novels||Epithalamium · Come Autumn, Sae Pensive (1967)|
|Novellas||Till A' the Seas Gang Dry · Because It Is Bitter, and Because It Is My Heart|
|Stories||"Bonnie Wee Thing" · "Winterreise (1976)" · "Familiar Rituals (1977)" · "Mammals of the Order Chiroptera (August 1995)" · "Ca' the Yowes (1996)" · "After the Fall (June 1997)"|
|Characters||Minerva McGonagall · Albus Dumbledore · Severus Snape · Thorfinn McGonagall · Amelia Bones · Poppy Pomfrey · Alastor Moody|