Saturday, 1 December 2012

Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories: The Tree

I grew up with artificial trees, so it was natural when I left home and set up my own flat to have an artificial tree myself (and all of my flats have been far too small to cope with anything over a foot tall!). Over the years, artificial trees have improved considerably, so what used to be a rather obviously-plastic one now looks almost real. You often have to touch the needles to check!

The Christmas tree has not always been with us. Or has it? Check this out from Wikipedia:

"While it is clear that the modern Christmas tree originates in Renaissance and early modern Germany, there are a number of speculative theories as to its ultimate origin. Its 16th-century origins are sometimes associated with Martin Luther.  Alternatively, it is identified with the "tree of paradise" of medieval mystery plays that were given on 24 December, the commemoration and name day of Adam and Eve in various countries. In such plays, a tree decorated with apples (to represent the forbidden fruit) and wafers (to represent the Eucharist and redemption) was used as a setting for the play. Like the Christmas crib, the Paradise tree was later placed in homes. The apples were replaced by round objects such as shiny red balls."

"Happy Christmas" by Viggo Johansen 
And this from Encyclopædia Britannica: "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 Christmastime."

And from religioustolerance.org: "Oliver Cromwell preached against "the heathen traditions" of Christmas carols, decorated trees and any joyful expression that desecrated "that sacred event."

I wonder how many of my ancestors had a Christmas tree?

“The Advent Calendar of Christmas Memories (ACCM) allows you to share your family’s holiday history 24 different ways during 24 days in December! Learn more at adventcalendar.geneabloggers.com.”

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