Wednesday, December 21, 2005

The Origins of the Christmas Tree - Part 1

The Christmas tree, like many other Christmas traditions, originated in Germany. In the 7th century, a monk from Devonshire traveled to Germany to preach the word of God. He spent time in Thuringia, an area of Germany, which became the center of the Christmas Decoration industry. Legend says he used the triangular shape of the fir tree to describe the Trinity of God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. People began revering the fir tree instead of the traditional oak. The original Christmas trees were hung upside-down from ceilings as a symbol of Christianity.

The first decorated tree appeared in Latvia in 1510. Martin Luther is said to have been coming home and, seeing how the stars shined brightly through the fir trees and lighted the dark night, decided to add candles to his tree.

Christmas trees have been decorated with many different items. Food items were the symbol of plenty while paper flowers were symbolic of the tree in the Garden of Eden. Red flowers symbolized knowledge and white ones stood for innocence.

Another staple of the decorated Christmas tree is tinsel. It too originated in Germany around 1610. An interesting fact is that the original tinsel was actually made with pulled silver. It was durable, but did tarnish quickly. Silver was used for tinsel up until the mid-20th century.

Come back tomorrow for Part 2.

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