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The Origin of the Christmas Tree

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Christmas Tree at the Capital

The Orgin Of The Christmas Tree

In December many people run out to buy live or artificial evergreen trees to decorate. As Christmas nears one may tell tales of Santa Clause who will fly around the world in one night by a reindeer drawn sled. Many stories are told of the anniversary of Jesus' Birth however the origin of the Christmas Tree is neglected and more or less swept under the rug. The origin of the Christmas tree however has little to do with Santa Clause, Christianity, Gifts or baby Jesus' birth.

The Christmas tree originated from various pagan rituals. Some pagan cultures would cut evergreen trees in the month of December and place them in homes or temples before decorating them. Centuries ago in Great Britain, woods priests called Druids used evergreens during mysterious winter solstice rituals. The Druids used holly and mistletoe as symbols of eternal life, and place evergreen branches over doors to keep away evil spirits[1]. This ritual was to recognize the winter solstice, the time of the year that had the shortest daylight hours, the longest night hours of the year and all the vegetation would begin to die or hibernate. The pagans feared the sun would eventually disappear forever and everyone would freeze[2]. This occurs annually between DEC-20 to 23. When the days gradually got shorter the pagans knew the winter solstice was coming and as the winter solstice approached, nothing but the evergreen trees that remained green[3]. There are many that say that people of ancient Egypt or Kemet also carried out these rituals however, these statements cannot hold true. Present Egypt is a desert, and has been for many centuries, where no evergreen tree can survive. Winters are not cold enough for crops or fields to die, vegetation thrives all year round. It is said that almost 1,000 years ago, German St. Boniface (whom had converted many Germans to Christianity had come across a group of pagans worshiping an oak tree[4]. There was a certain huge oak tree called the oak of Thor that the pagans believed to be sacred to their gods. In front of a large crowd, Boniface struck the tree a few times with an axe. When the tree had fallen, they realized their gods were false when nothing happened to Boniface[5]. To his surprise, there grew a young fir tree from the roots of the fallen Oak. St. Boniface thought this as a sign of Christian faith[6].

The ancient pagan Romans decorated their "trees with bits of metal and replicas of their god. They also placed 12 candles on the tree in honor of their sun god" Their mid-winter festival of Saturnalia in honor of Saturnus, god of agriculture. It started on DEC-17 and often lasted until a few days after the Solstice and eventually through the month of December until the new year. Now the Christmas Tree is supposed to be a Christian symbol with the tree assuming the Triangular form. The Triangle is the Christian form of Stability and God, the Trinity.

These pagan rituals continue to this day with little thought of their origin. In the United States Christmas and X-mas is celebrated by most individuals. In the capitalistic country of the U.S.A, the demand for Christmas trees and decorations sky rocket and the importation of trees are increased. American dollars leave the country to pay for these seasonal products with a great percentage of it going to China, where they manufacture much of Americas merchandise. In many parts of the world Christmas for businesses means a boost in economy before the new year.

notes

  1. http://www.christmas-tree.com/where.html
  2. http://www.christmas-tree.com/where.html
  3. http://www.religioustolerance.org/xmas_tree.htm
  4. http://www.religioustolerance.org/xmas_tree.htm
  5. http://www.saintboniface.org/tag/oak-tree/
  6. http://www.christmas-tree.com/where.html
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