Why decorate Christmas trees? In the United States of America, decorated Christmas Trees are everywhere. You don’t have to be a Christian to know about the Christmas tree, they are in every mall and shopping center in the country, and every city square. The vast majority of us grew up with Christmas trees in our homes, and decorating it was always a major undertaking. My dad was the light man…and strong language always accompanied the putting on of the lights!
Let’s think about this, though. Why do we cut down a tree during the winter, bring it into the house, and decorate it? What does it have to do with celebrating “Christ’s Mass”? (which is where the word Christmas comes from). Christ’s Mass was the Catholic Church’s day to commemorate the nativity of Christ. The day itself is not actually Christ’s birthday, but it is when his birth is celebrated. “History convincingly shows that December 25 was popularized as the date for Christmas, not because Christ was born on that day but because it was already popular in pagan religious celebrations as the birthday of the sun.” (https://www.ucg.org/the-good-news/biblical-evidence-shows-jesus-christ-wasnt-born-on-dec-25). I encourage you to click on the link and learn about the Biblical Evidence. I always find history so fascinating, and religious history especially!
The practice of bringing in Evergreens and decorating with them is a Pagan (person believing in polytheism meaning more than one God) practice going back more than 2,000 years before Christ, and existed in many cultures. Greece, Rome, Egypt were all polytheistic religions. Evergreens were meant to protect from the shortening of the days, or the Winter Solstice. Everything else died during winter…except the evergreen. The ancient Germans decorated evergreens with fruit and candles to honor Woden, the god Wednesday is named after. The tree symbolized eternal life. Holly, mistletoe and the Yule log were also used. This practice predates Christianity.
The modern Christmas tree is fairly new to America…it was brought by Germans in the 1700s who celebrated the Feast of Adam and Eve on December 24th. It became the practice of the British Royal Family, Queen Victoria and her Consort, German Prince Albert, to “dress” a Christmas tree during the 1850s, and so it became fashionable in England, and not long after, in the United States as well.
The Christmas tree is both Pagan and Christian. I find its history quite interesting…and since I LOVE Christmas trees (I only decorate 3 of them each season!) I enjoy learning about the old traditions.
Merry Christmas, Happy Winter Solstice, and cheers to all the Pagans who believed the evergreen symbolized life. I love being evergreen, and I love the holidays!
Want to know more?
You would enjoy MY TOP 5 CHRISTMAS DESTINATIONS!