When I saw this Blogmas prompt, it got me thinking, is it really necessary? I have never so much about it. Whether we have it or not, I will still enjoy Christmas. But I was curious to find out its origin, maybe I could reconsider my position. Let us learn together.

What is a Christmas tree?

According to Wikipedia, A Christmas tree is a decorated tree, usually, an evergreen conifer such as spruce, pine, or fir, or an artificial tree with a similar appearance. The tree was traditionally decorated with “roses made of colored paper, apples, wafers, cotton wool. As times moved on, this has transitioned to the trees being illuminated with Christmas lights and there is now a variety of traditional and modern ornaments like garlands, angels stars, ribbons, chocolate to mention but a few.  

History of the Christmas tree

The Real History of Christmas Trees | Time

I have come to learn that long before the advent of Christianity, plants and trees that remained green all year had a special meaning for people. Ancient people often hung evergreen boughs over their doors and windows with the belief that evergreens would keep away witches, ghosts, evil spirits, and illness.

Germany is credited for the origin of the Christmas tree tradition as devout Christians brought decorated trees into their homes. Some built Christmas pyramids of wood and decorated them with evergreens and candles if the wood was scarce. Some sources believe that in the 16th-century Protestant reformer, Martin Luther first added lighted candles to a tree. Walking toward his home one winter evening, composing a sermon, he was awed by the brilliance of stars twinkling amidst evergreens. To recapture the scene for his family, he erected a tree in the main room and wired its branches with lighted candles.

Meaning and significance of a Christmas tree

In Christianity, the Christmas tree is symbolic of the birth of Jesus Christ. The tree’s branches and shrubs are viewed as an emblem of immortality and are said to symbolize the crown of thorns worn by Christ on the cross.

Among the Romans, evergreen trees are held as solar symbolism in the Roman culture. The trees were a testimony of light to the Romans. They celebrated the festival of Saturnalia to honor Saturn– the God of agriculture. To mark the occasion, Roman people decorated their homes and temples with evergreen boughs. Among the Greeks, the coniferous pine was sacred to Attis, the Greek God for flora– the world of vegetation. In the Greek tradition, pine was furnished with silver adornments, and bells and offerings were placed under the tree as sacrifices to the deities.

In Africa, I guess we borrowed from these cultures and more. That being said, with or without a Christmas tree, Christmas I will celebrate and enjoy.

What is it like for you?

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