Have you ever wondered why we have Christmas trees?
Until I thought about writing this blog it is actually something that I hadn’t really given much thought to. Its just something that we love to have in our homes every year and it is a way of making our homes look Christmassy and it holds all those beautiful twinkling lights as part of a festival of light?
So where did it all actually begin?
The use of ‘evergreen’ plants started before Christ was actually born when different people used them in their homes to celebrate the winter solstice, which happens on the 21st/22nd of December. The green plants symbolised life when all around them was death. Some people believed that it would keep away witches, ghosts, evil spirits and illness.
It was Germany in the 1500’s who started the tradition of the ‘Christmas tree’ as we know it now. Christians began to bring decorated trees into their homes. This developed over time to include lights and the beautiful decorations we have now that help to reflect the light and bring in the other winter themes of snowflakes and such. The light or the star on top of the tree has now also become a symbol of the birth of Christ as the light of the world.
It was thought that the lights started when a protestant priest called Martin Luther was walking home one night when he was struck by the beauty of the stars shining though the evergreen forests and it gave him the idea of adding lights to his own tree at home so he could recapture what he had seen in the forest. He used candles attached to the tree with wire.
As religion spread around the world as did the tradition of the Christmas tree. It can be found in a surprising number of countries and where ever green trees cannot be found (like in the Philippines) handmade trees or alternatives are often used!
In Britain it wasn’t until 1846 when Queen victoria and her German Prince, Albert were sketched in front of a Christmas tree that it became the thing to have. By the 1890’s Germany was exporting its Christmas decorations and ornaments, which were similar to the ones we decorate our trees with now!
I love putting my Christmas tree up each year and nothing can beat that beautiful woodland smell of an evergreen tree in your house.