Christmas Trees and Christmas… history.
There are Christmas trees almost everywhere.
People try to come up with something new, so that the tree won’t look like last year’s one.
When searching for the historical beginning of the first Christmas tree, one must go very deep into the past. Just like Santa Claus one finds that the first Christmas tree was combination of many different facts, legends and customs.
Christmas is celebrated the world over, by almost everyone in it and in many different ways. Most cultures have similar themes and many Christmas traditions form part of the fun of the season for people who celebrate it.
Many children leave Santa Claus a small treat before going to bed on Christmas Eve…
…which can be anything from cookies and milk, popular with US, Canada and a lesser extent the UK – who in the main tend to stick to sherry and a mince pie; Swedish children leave him rice pudding and Irish children leave him Guinness and Christmas pud.
What is left for Santa to put present in differs from culture to culture and sometimes family to family too.
In the UK a stocking is traditionally hung on the fireplace or at the foot of a bedstead. In the US these are also popular, but are sometimes present bags.
In Germany sacks are left out and in Italy and Portugal shoes are left out for presents, sometimes on windowsills and sometimes by the fireplace.
However, in Venezuela, children leave out straw, which they wake to find replaced with presents. Some countries just place presents under the tree.
The first decorated tree was at Riga in Latvia, in 1510. In the early 16th century, Martin Luther is said to have decorated a small Christmas Tree with candles, to show his children how the stars twinkled through the dark night.
The exact origin of the Christmas tree is obscured by uncertainties of oral histories of the people in early European cultures.
Discussions and arguments over which of the Baltic towns was first to decorate the Christmas tree must go deep into the history of the region, and of course may be all but impossible to reconcile.
As it is obvious that we may never know the exact origin of decorating and celebrating about the Christmas tree.
It also seems obvious that at the junction of pagan ritualistic celebration and religious reformation – such wonderful traditions emerge. This is as it should be, all things having their answers in between fact and legend.
Today Christmas trees come in many forms…natural and artificial, undecorated, decorated with candles, lights, ornaments, and treats…colored, fiber optic, and even upside down Christmas trees!
The Christmas tree is not without controversy. It has been condemned as a pagan symbol, renamed a “holiday tree” and removed from public spaces due to political correctness, and blasted by environmentalists!
The Poles are walking around the Christmas Trees …
The decorated Christmas Trees in Riga….