A Brief History of the Christmas Tree

Photo by Irina Iriser on Pexels.com

The Christmas Tree

In many countries throughout history, evergreens were used during festive seasons. This was because people thought that they kept away evil and illness. The Egyptians, Romans, Celts and Vikings, among others, all used evergreens in festivals particularly around the solstice. The Romans marked their mid-winter with a festival called Saturnalia to honor the god Saturn, or their god of agriculture. They used the evergreens as decoration to show that their farms would soon be green again after the winter season.

The origins of the modern Christmas tree as we know it today, link back to the Middle Ages and particularly to Germany in the 15th and 16th centuries. There were a few other areas that also had similar traditions. As the popularity grew over time the traditions generally spread from Germany, especially in America where German settlers had their own trees or trees in their communities. Many in America still saw a Christmas tree as a pagan symbol as late as 1840.

The image that had been published of the family of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, surrounding their tree in 1848, helped boost the popularity especially as it was reprinted later in America. Trees became popular over time as different communities began to adopt the practice in the late 1800s and early 1900s. While homemade ornaments or those found in nature were used on most trees, it was when electricity came and brought with it Christmas lights that made Christmas trees a yearly tradition. Now, while many use fake trees instead of real trees, the sentiment is still the same.

“The best gifts in life will never be found under a Christmas tree, those gifts are friends, family, children and the one you love.” ~ Unknown

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