New Delhi: The origins of the modern rendition of Christmas trees are murky it is widely believed it came from Germany and it is fairly recent. It is believed that the priest Martin Luther Order of Saint Augustine was the first to bring a tree inside his house and decorate it with candles. However, the tradition of hanging plants in parts of houses dates back to the time of the Ancient Egyptians as it symbolizes eternal life.
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Origins Of Christmas tree
It acquired popularity beyond the Lutheran areas of Germany, later, and the Baltic governorates during the second half of the 19th century, at first among the upper classes.
The use of evergreen trees, wreaths, and garlands to symbolize eternal life was a custom of the ancient Egyptians, Chinese, and Hebrews. Tree worship was common among the pagan Europeans and survived their conversion to Christianity in the Scandinavian customs of decorating the house and barn with evergreens at the New Year to scare away the Devil and of setting up a tree for the birds during Christmas time.
The Christmas tree grew in popularity since then, the German settlers took the Christmas tree to North America. However, the North Americans weren’t so quick to accept the Christmas tree, they believed Christmas was a holy festival and so much celebration wasn’t very divine aside from the midnight mass.
The Christmas tree was introduced into England in the early 19th century, it was popularized in the mid-19th century by German-born Prince Albert, husband of Queen Victoria.
The Victorian tree was decorated with toys and small gifts, candles, candies, popcorn strings, and fancy cakes hung from the branches by ribbons and by paper chains.
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Missionaries introduced the Christmas tree to wherever they traveled including China & Japan.
Decorations Of Christmas Trees
Christmas trees can be fresh-cut, potted, or artificial and are used as both indoor and outdoor decorations.
The tree itself is an evergreen conifer, such as fir, spruce, or pine. In the 50s & 60s plastic trees became more popular especially in places where live ones were not readily available.
Decorating the Christmas trees involves a family gathering, the whole family children, adults get involved to set up and put up the ornaments, baubles, and candies.
These days instead of candles which can be a real fire hazard, it’s fairy lights that surround the Christmas tree. The idea was then to scare away the Devil. People add family heirloom Christmas tree ornaments that can be made of glass or silver or may even have a special design.
While the origin of the pickle ornament is probably apocryphal, both Germany & North America claim it originated there. However, the idea is that whoever spots the Christmas ornament first on Christmas day, gets an extra present.
The Christmas tree is always topped with an angel or a star, symbolizing archangel Gabriel or the Star of Bethlehem.
It is hard to avoid the environmental impact of the Christmas trees, whether it is a real conifer that is cut and thrown away after Christmas or the plastic trees that will eventually end up in landfills or the sea turning into microplastic. It is best to have a potted plant that you will keep with yourself after Christmas, most Indians keep a Norfolk Pine which is potted and stays after Christmas as well.
If you can’t find a tree, you can use fairy lights strung with baubles and ornaments on the wall. Books stacked in the shape of a Christmas tree or even some other potted plant in your home and decorate it for Christmas.
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