Monday, December 12, 2005

Christmas tree history

Thousands or years ago, there were people who believed that evergreen trees were magical. Even in winter, when all the other trees and greenery were brown and bare, the evergreen stayed strong and green. People saw the evergreen as a symbol of life and as a sure sign that sunshine and spring would soon return. Candles, or the electric lights we use to decorate our trees today, are also derived from ancient symbols. They represent the light of spring triumphing over the darkness of winter.

In ancient Rome, people decorated their homes and their temples with greenery during a special December feast. It was a happy time. No battles could be fought, the schools were closed, and people everywhere joined in the carnival-like atmosphere and gave each other presents.

So when did the Christmas tree go indoor? Legend has it that Martin Luther in Germany began the tradition. He was a monk and church reformer who lived from 1483 to 1546. According to the legend, Luther was returning home one wintry night when he saw the stars twinkling in the sky through the tree branches. The sign amazed Luther, and when he arrived home, he was eager to tell his family about it. To help them understand, he went to the woods and cut down a small fir tree. Luther brought it indoors and decorated it with candles, which represented the stars he had seen.

The custom spread in Germany, and subsequently all over the world. In England, the Christmas tree first appeared when Queen Victoria married Prince Albert, who was German. In 1841, Albert set up a Christmas tree at Windsor Castle near London to remind him of his homeland. The Christmas tree custom was brought to the United States by people from England as well as by many German immigrants who came in the 1800's.

The night of the Saviour's birth, all the living creatures, both flora and fauna, came to Bethlehem with gifts. The olive tree brought its fruit and the palm its dates. But the little fir tree had no gift and was so tired it couldn't resist when the big trees pushed it into the background and hid it from view. But then a nearby angel took pity and commanded a cluster of stars to come and rest on its delicate boughs. When the Baby Jesus beheld this lovely lighted tree, He smiled and blessed it, declaring henceforth that fir trees should always be filled with lights at Christmas time to please little children.



Anonymous said...

I think the tree-cutting custom is negative for the environnement should not replace cereals cultures.

Karine said...

In Canada we have no lack of cereals and it seems better to grow trees than meat and other animals-to-eat. Besides, natural trees brings happiness in the houses.
Is it more ecological to buy a natural tree every year or to buy a plastic-made one, considering petrol and industry involvement?

chris said...

My contribution to your blog is a simple list on why artificial Christmas trees are better than real christmas trees.
1. Artificial Christmas trees last longer than real trees.
2. Artificial Christmas trees are safer than real trees because they are not a fire hazard.
3. Studies show that plastic artificial Christmas trees are thrown out after ten years.
4. There is no hassle in buying artificial Christmas trees because they are found in many shops around Christmas.
5. Artificial Christmas trees can be decorated with tinsel or foliage coloured tinsel.
6. Artificial Christmas trees are generally inexpensive, because they are made out of cheap inexpensive materials whereas many cheaper live trees are of poor quality as well as they deteriorate quickly. Shop around to find a tree that you like within your price limit!
7. Artificial Christmas trees don't litter the floor with pine needles like real trees do.
8. Artificial Christmas trees don't bother you if you don't like the smell of pine or have allergies.
9. If you happen to like the smell of pine you can buy a special pine spray for your artificial Christmas trees.
10. Artificial Christmas trees can't rot like real trees can.
11. Artificial Christmas trees are easy to assemble and easy to store away.
12. Artificial Christmas trees don't weigh much.

Fast Growing Trees said...

Wow! That’s a pretty exhaustive list you have there against real Christmas
href=""> trees
Chris. But every once in a while it might do good to break away from tradition and have a live decorated tree warming near your hearth. Great post Flower Pot. Keep up the good work of spreading cheer and enlightment.