(continuing from the previous blog, in honor of the season)
How did the Christmas tree develop? Here is a brief rundown of its history:
We can thank Germany for giving us the Christmas tree.
According to one legend St. Boniface encountered pagans preparing a sacrifice at an oak tree dedicated to the god Donar/Thor. He took an ax to the tree, and, when not struck down by their god, he proclaimed to the awed pagans that a nearby evergreen was their holy tree. Another version of this story claims that a fir tree grew on the site of the fallen oak.
Whether this tale holds truth, evergreen trees became part of Christian rites in Germany, and the Middle Ages, paradise trees became a thing. Paradise trees, were meant to represent the Garden of Eden. These evergreen trees were hung with apples and displayed in homes on December 24, the religious feast day of Adam and Eve. Over time other decorations were included, and eventually apples were no longer a fashion, nor the term paradise tree. During the 16th century is when paradise trees became known as Christmas trees. There was a time prior to becoming the Christmas tree that the tree was called the Christmas Pyramid. Decorations remained fabricated from natural materials, but as time forged forward, they became more ornate.
In the 16th century, Martin Luther; reportedly first hung lighted candles on a tree. By the 19th century, Christmas trees were a firmly established tradition in Germany. As Germans migrated, they took Christmas trees to other countries, notably England. The German-born prince Albert, and his wife, Britain’s Queen Victoria, popularized the tradition among the British. The couple made Christmas trees a prominent part of the holiday’s festivities, and in 1848 an illustration of the royal family around a decorated tree appeared in a London newspaper. Christmas trees soon became common in English homes.
German settlers also introduced Christmas trees in the United States, though the custom; was not initially embraced. Puritans opposed the holiday because of the influence of Pagan traditions, and officials of the Massachusetts Bay Colony outlawed celebrating Christmas. Their dislike of the holiday was such that they closed their churches on December 25. It wasn’t until the 1820s that Christmas began gaining popularity in America, and the country’s first Christmas tree reportedly was displayed in the 1830s.
Christmas trees spread almost worldwide, but the tradition began to have a detrimental impact on forests, especially in Germany. As a result, during the 1800s, Germans began fabricating artificial goose-feathered trees. These trees found their way into different countries, but in time goose feathers were replaced by other materials. In the 1930s when a manufacturer of toilet bowl brushes allegedly used surplus product to create an artificial tree. These bristle trees gained popularity, but were later supplanted by aluminum and then plastic versions that are popular enough today.
By Kindra Ravenmoon