The original link is 404 now, as are all sites from Geocities.
For ancient cultures, the hearth was the center of the home.
It was the provider of warmth through the harsh winter months,
and also provided heat for cooking all meals. It was the
gathering place of the household.
Fire has a special attraction for all of us. Within its
smoke and flame lie the origin of many religions.
Fire, the element of transformation, causes change to occur. It can be
destructive, but through destruction comes creation.
The fire in the house was never allowed to die. It was considered
unfortunate if the household fire went out during the night.
If this occurred, hot coals would need to be borrowed from neighbors.
If the coals died while being transported home, it was an omen
that the family would have an unlucky future.