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General Knowledge

History of Christmas Trees

History of Christmas Trees

Once again it is Christmas season and you will see Christmas Trees decorated with lights and ornaments. But do we know how did the use of Christmas Tree begin? Let us see. Christmas Tree is an Evergreen Tree, usually a Balsam or Douglas Fir. Botanically an Evergreen is a plant which has foliage that remains green and functional through more than one growing season.

Christmas Tree has its roots in the customs of Egyptians, Chinese and Hebrews. They treated Wreaths and Garlands of Evergreen Trees as a symbol of Eternal Life. The Romans also decorated their temples with green branches of trees. Tree worship was common among Pagan European. They continued this even after converting to Christianity. They used to decorate their houses and barns with Evergreen Trees in the New Year. They did this to scare away the devil and also to set up a tree for birds flying around. According to many, it was Martin Luther introduced the Christmas Tree lit with Candles in the 16th Century.

Origin of Modern Christmas Tree

Modern Christmast Tree originated in West Germany. The popular medivial play about Adam and Eve used a prop made of Fir Tree hung with Apples, symbolizing the Paradise Tree and the Garden of Eden. The Germans set up Paradise Tree, hung with Wafers, in their homes on 24th December. December 24th is the religious feast day of Adam and Eve. They also used a Triangular construction of wood known as Christmas Pyramid, holding Christmas Figurines. Around 16th Century the Christmas Pyramid and the Paradise Tree got merged resulting in the modern Christmas Tree.

In England, the use of Christmas Tree started by the mid 19th Century by the German Prince Albert, the husband of Queen Victoria. Prince Albert had the first Christmas Tree setup, decorated with Candles, Candies and Fancy Cakes at the Windsor Castle in 1841. German migrants brought the tradition to United States of America by 17th Century and became the height of fashion in America by 19th Century. Soon, it became famous and in use in other parts of world.

Picture used for illustration only – Credit: Stephen Fulljames

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Born and brought up in Kerala, I did my schooling in Kerala and graduated (B.Sc Physics) from the Calicut University. I have worked with a Swedish Company from 1994 to 2015, as a Senior Project Manager in their Group IT Division in Dubai. This blog is the result of my strong desire to communicate with others, sharing what I know and what I could gather from various sources.


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