The Christmas tree is a symbol of the holiday season and a tradition that has been around for centuries. It’s roots come from pagan traditions, but it became a Christian symbol in the 16th century.
The Christmas Tree symbolizes the birth of Jesus Christ. It is a representation of the tree in the Garden of Eden and it is also a reminder that we are all children of God who should love one another. Read more in detail here: what does the christmas tree symbolize in the bible.
We all adore Christmas, and what is one of the most important aspects of the holiday season? Of course, there’s the Christmas tree! But what does the tree that decorates our home during the holidays really represent? What is the significance of the Christmas tree?
What Is the Origin of the Christmas Tree?
Winter celebrations were associated with the use of evergreens and greenery, since they were plants that lasted all year and were thought to protect the home from bad spirits, witches, ghosts, and diseases.
People thought that since these plants remained green throughout the year, particularly throughout the winter, they would be protected; it was not only a symbol of protection, but also of health.
What is the Christmas tree’s real origin?
Originally, the Christmas tree was a pagan religious emblem of festivity. It is mostly recognized as a German custom.
If they couldn’t locate a plant to symbolize the tree, the Christmas tree became a pyramid tree. People would make a tree-like pyramid out of wood and adorn it with nuts, gingerbread, apples, paper, and candles.
On Christmas Eve, the trees and pyramids were typically paraded throughout town to display to the other families as a symbol of good health, to ward off bad spirits. Throughout the 16th century, it grew in popularity, eventually becoming very popular among aristocracy and royalty.
Is there a religious significance to a Christmas tree?
For the Saturnalia festival, Romans used evergreens to adorn their temples, while Ancient Egyptians used green palm rushes to decorate their temples as part of devotion to the God of Ra.
It is said that a guy named Martin Luther brought the first recorded Christmas tree inside and decorated it in the 16th century. He was reported to have seen the stars through the evergreen trees on his way home and returned home to tell his children that it reminded him of Jesus. People began to decorate trees with candles as a sign of inviting Jesus into their homes after he wrote a sermon for his church about the event. For Christians, the Christmas tree symbolizes Jesus and the light he gives to the world.
Where did the tradition of putting up a Christmas tree originate from?
It originated from the custom of covering the tree or ‘Christmas pyramid’ with gingerbread, candles, and other decorations to resemble/replicate Jesus’ birth narrative. This was done so that as individuals went about presenting and showing off their Christmas trees/pyramids, they were encouraging others to come to the church to see their nativity play based on the Christmas narrative.
Though, as time passed, it became increasingly usual for households to retain their trees inside to adorn as their own, rather than as community showpieces.
Could you image trying to lug a Christmas tree around your block? It’s no wonder that we now keep our Christmas trees in our homes for our family to enjoy.
Why do we decorate our Christmas trees with ornaments?
Nowadays, decorating the Christmas tree is such a significant occasion for families; it is the time of year when they all gather together to decorate the tree, which they then sit around and put gifts beneath as the centerpiece of their holiday celebration.
However, the root of why we place ornaments on the tree may be traced back to the 16th century. Europeans would use apples to adorn their trees to represent the paradise tree in the tale of Adam and Eve, as well as to remind people of the forbidden fruit Eve ate.
Christmas trees were subsequently adorned with delectable delicacies such as gingerbread stars, angels, and holly, as we know them today.
The very first Christmas ornament
Glassblower Hans Greiner is believed to have developed the first glass ornament because he couldn’t afford to purchase apples and chose to manufacture his own. Others started to purchase his glass apples and other glass decorations that resembled fruit and nuts to symbolize the Christmas holiday after seeing his works.
Now, I’m not sure about you, but these glass apples and nuts sound very similar to the ornaments we purchase now, so it’s no surprise they were popular.
Why do we decorate a Christmas tree with lights?
Putting lights on a tree harkens back to the concept of the lights symbolizing Jesus as Light in the Dark. The stars and planets in the sky were represented by the lights and decorations on the tree. Many Christians would put a manger beneath their trees to represent Jesus Christ’s advent under the stars.
However, it wasn’t until the mid-nineteenth century that Americans and Britons began to adorn their Christmas trees! After Prince Albert, Queen Victoria’s husband, brought the custom over from Germany, it became popular. (For additional information on how to celebrate Christmas Victorian style, see How To Celebrate Christmas Victorian Style.)
In America, however, putting lights on Christmas trees (candles) needed buckets of water and sand since it was not unusual for the trees to catch fire, which they did often.
It wasn’t until 1882 when Thomas Edison’s colleague Edward Johnson adorned his Christmas tree with electric lights, earning him the moniker “Father of the Electric Christmas Tree.” The tradition of adorning Christmas trees with electric lights spread from there, and by 1920, electric Christmas lights were available in every shop.
Why do we adorn our Christmas trees with tinsel?
Tinsel was invented in the 17th century in Europe, and it was made by pounding silver alloy until it was paper-thin and then cutting it into strips. It was used as a Christmas tree ornament to reflect the flickering and glistening candle flames. They seemed as if there were sparkling stars in the sky, but they were on their trees.
Obviously, we can now buy tinsel in nearly every color conceivable, but the combination of tinsel and lights can produce a sparkling star appearance, making this time of year even more wonderful for you and your family.