Jump to content
  • Sky
  • Blueberry
  • Slate
  • Blackcurrant
  • Watermelon
  • Strawberry
  • Orange
  • Banana
  • Apple
  • Emerald
  • Chocolate
  • Charcoal
Sign in to follow this  
Hane

Interesting info on the possible origin of Christmas trees

Recommended Posts

Waffle Time
Hane

Interesting pre-Christmas sermon at my UU church last Sunday: The minister spoke of the familiar pagan and Druid origins, as well as Buddha under the bodhi tree--but then told us about a very old (medieval) practice, in which a tree was brought into the church and decorated with apples--to represent the tree of knowledge in Eden--and communion hosts, to represent salvation.

 

A priest once told us the most likely origin of the crèche: a teaching tool used by early evangelists for the illiterate.

Edited by OnceUponATime
adding tags

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
debrand

I've always found it interesting that so many different cultures have some symbolism that they share in common.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
gustava
Interesting pre-Christmas sermon at my UU church last Sunday: The minister spoke of the familiar pagan and Druid origins, as well as Buddha under the bodhi tree--but then told us about a very old (medieval) practice, in which a tree was brought into the church and decorated with apples--to represent the tree of knowledge in Eden--and communion hosts, to represent salvation.

A priest once told us the most likely origin of the crèche: a teaching tool used by early evangelists for the illiterate.

Wonder where they got the apples in wintertime.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Waffle Time
Hane

In the old days, apples weren't as perishable as modern varieties, and were kept in root cellars throughout the winter.

Forgot to mention that Rev. Tony told us that, in the early days of the Reformation in Europe, Protestant churches tended to use Christmas trees as a Yuletide symbol, and Catholic churches used creches.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
jenny_islander

Oh, yes, at one point I had a short paper on this with citations for primary sources (kindly translated for me). We think of Passion plays as a big medieval thing, and they were, but many parts of medieval Europe had a whole cycle of Church-approved religious plays that went on all year, some in the church itself. I have seen the script for one of these plays from the mid-15th century. The directions do indeed call for a green tree hung with fruit to be set up on Christmas Eve. In eastern Europe in December, the green tree had to be an evergreen, and the only fruits available were apples from a barrel of straw in the cellar. And then the Church officials in eastern Europe decided to change the script. The tree was there to be a prop for the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden, which was moved to some other ecclesiastical season. And in the early 16th century (IIRC) the first written references to Christmas trees appear in Estonia, Latvia, and Germany. The Christmas tree tradition moves steadily westward, reaching the U.S. in the early 19th century.

So here's the speculation I hung on these primary sources: The kids love the tree that appears in the church on Christmas Eve. They don't really understand why it's there, so they don't call it a Tree of Paradise; they call it a Christmas tree. It is the sign that the wonderful season of feasting, songs, and greenery is about to begin. The first Christmas without the tree, the wailing of the kidlets reaches to the sky. Being assured that they'll see the tree during Holy Week (or whenever) is not good enough because it's a Christmas tree, Daddy, a CHRISTMAS TREEEEEEE! Sob! Sniffle! So one family decides to cut a tree down and set it up at home. The kids in the neighborhood go nuts. Daddy, Mommy, Vadim's family has THEIR VERY OWN CHRISTMAS TREE, come see come see!! And the tradition spreads from there.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Waffle Time
Hane

I wonder if Tony read the same paper! He also cited documented instances of Christmas trees in the US going back as far as Revolutionary times, when a German mercenary who settled in Vermont had one. And they really took off in the 1800s, as jenny_islander says above; Queen Victoria's husband Prince Albert was German, and brought German holiday customs to England.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Sola

I know somethng about this. It is something to do with Eastern European traditions, again probably a mishmash of pagamn traditions.

I'll post more when I am not three sheets to the wind... too much red wine..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  



×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.