The Christmas Tree is an evergreen fir tree which has formed part of traditional celebrations for Christian and Winter festivals for many, many years. Branches of it would adorn the homes of Pagans in winter to bring hope of the spring to come and Romans used the full trees in their temples to celebrate Saturnalia (a festival).
For Christians, the tree signifies a strong dedication to god and an everlasting relationship with him. Here you can learn the history of the christmas tree.
The Very First Christmas Trees
There isn’t a specific time fir trees are historically documented as being first used as Christmas trees, but it is thought to have been around 1,000 years ago. Documents do show Christmas Trees to have been hung from the ceiling in the very early days. The tradition also appears to have stemmed from Northern Europe and also shows people to have placed the trees or parts of the trees into pots, or wooden structures made to look like trees, which people would then decorate.
The trees made from wood have been thought to signify Paradise Trees, a major part of medieval German plays which used to be performed around churches on Christmas Eve every year. The Paradise Tree represents the Garden Of Eden.The first recorded incident of a Christmas Tree being used at Christmas and New Year is in Latvia in 1510. The town even claims to have had the very first Christmas Tree and has a plaque in the centre of the town stating that fact.
Following this record, a picture from 1521 in Germany also signifies the first use of the Christmas Tree showing a tree being taken around the streets followed by a man on a horse dressed as a bishop – thought to be an early Santa.
In 1584 Mr Russow, a historian wrote about a decorated fir tree, but it was in the 16th century it is thought the first person bought a Christmas Tree into the house properly. The man who did this was called Martin Luther and apparently he walked through a forest on Christmas Eve and the stars were shining through the branches. He went back home and told his family how beautiful they look and that they reminded him of Jesus who left those stars at Christmas to come to earth.
Another story suggests that a man from Devon travelled to Germany to convert pagans to christianity and saw pagans about to sacrifice a child while worshipping a tree, so in anger he cut the tree down and a fir tree sprang up in its place – he took that as a sign of god and celebrated the tree.
There is also another story from Germany that suggests a family took in a needy child on Christmas Eve who then turned to Jesus overnight and gave the family a branch of a fir tree to say thank you. So people used the Christmas Tree to celebrate ever since.
Decorating The Christmas Tree
In Germany, Christmas Trees used to be decorated in edible decorations like apples and gingerbread, until glass ornaments then started to be used instead. Originally, Jesus used to be put on the top of the tree but the trend changed to the angel or star in the Christmas story.
Tinsel came from Germany but also influenced the tree decorations in Britain. In Britain the tree would have originally had candles placed on it in Victorian times, before other trends took over and electric Christmas lights were invented.
The Christmas Tree In Britain
Christmas Trees appeared in Britain in around 1830 and became hugely popular in 1841 when Prince Albert placed a Christmas Tree in Windsor Castle.
A picture of the tree was published which is how many people came to know about it and automatically wanted to replicate this new royal tradition.How will you decorate your tree this year?