Christmas: History and symbolism
The Christmas tree has become an integral part of our homes in December. It is usually a spruce, blue spruce and Serbian spruce with or without root ball or grown in a pot. Who wants to spend a lot of money, can also be a noble fir in your home. We decorate this tree with real candles or electric, colored balls, tinsel, stars, figurines of wood, etc. to the lack of light outside through light indoors to compensate.
Christmas trees are in the Netherlands out of the woods, but are specially cultivated.
Originally, the Christmas tree not linked to the birth of Jesus. He was there before it was born. In almost all cultures were in the trees somehow honored. In ancient Egypt was the central palm tree as a representation of Osiris, because it was a tree spirit.
In ancient Rome, people venerated the tree as the god of Baal Berith (Lord of the den). Later celebrated the festival Saturnalia, in honor of Saturn. They gave each other gifts and let the slaves temporarily Fri A later cult quarter on December 26 Natalis Solis Invicti, the birth of the invincible sun god. The Roman Emperor Constantine I belonged to this cult, in 312 until he got a mystical experience on the battlefield. He saw a cross and heard a voice say: “In this sign you will conquer.” He converted to Christianity and ruled that Christmas in the Roman Empire on December 25 should be celebrated. There was no question of a pure spirit of Christmas. The pagan elements were preserved.
Pines also played an important role in the worship of Astarte, goddess of the Assyrian empire. At her altars were planted pines. Sometimes also used for palm trees. Preference was given to the spruce with its pyramid-like shape to the realm of the gods points.
In ancient Babylon, one tree decorated with objects that sun, moon and stars symbolized.
In 354 the Roman Christians celebrated Christmas for the first time, on the feast of the sun god Apollo.
North of the Alps celebrated from December 21-the Germanic Yule Feast. Evil spirits were chased with shouts and fire.
The Celts hung eg dead birds in their sacrificial trees.
In the Netherlands people used pine trees hung high in the mast of a ship’s sail, thereby to express the hope that with Christmas hoped to be back home.
In the 5th century the fir tree of life as a mystery play in German churches. He was hung with apples and biscuits or wafer.
Since the Middle Ages was celebrated midwinter with bringing in branches that bloom there until they came (Barbara Branches). They provided protection from evil and stimulated fertility.
Later, they decorated the houses with evergreen plants, eg holly, pine, fir and laurel. In Silesia and Alsace was hung cookies and fruit in the trees or decorated it with candles. The wintertak was actually the forerunner of our Christmas tree. In 1535 in Strasbourg were in the market holly, yew and boxwood wreaths sold branches.
In 1509 appears the hand of the painter Lucas Cranach the Elder, a copper engraving of a decorated pine tree.
The Christmas tree is glowing symbol of the reawakening of nature. One of the first descriptions of a decorated, shiny and fragrant tree found in “Die Leiden des jungen Werther,” Goethe (1774).
In a painting from 1601 we see a tree full of St.Christophorus food and drink, where to grab the Christ Child. From Strasbourg in 1605 is reported that a pine tree in a living room set with colorful cut paper, apples and tinsel was hung.
In Sweden they already knew the tree lighting, a wooden framework which proposed a tree. Were placed candles on its branches. From here came the three-arm chandelier is lit everywhere in Sweden.
In 1841 the English had Prince Albert, husband of Queen Victoria, a large pine tree on the German model rigging. This was the beginning of a new Christmas ritual, for the first nobility, later also for ordinary citizens.
In the 19th century, the Vatican protested against the introduction of this pagan usage.
In 1866 the first cast iron Christmas tree stand patented.
In 1882 stated that a Christmas tree in the USA has electric lights.
In 1891, the first Christmas tree for the White House drafted.
Since 1900, we find everywhere, in families and in public buildings, decorated and illuminated Christmas trees. The pagan symbol is now combined with the Christian nativity scene.
The evergreen symbolizes the fertility and immortality. Green is the color of hope, the reawakening of nature and the return of the life cycle.
The green branch keep evil at bay.
According to the Christian faith had candles feature to deceased people in midwinter nights to find the way home. It was also overcome the darkest time of year is celebrated with fire. Therefore wanted the return of the sun dispel. Heat and light are a symbol of light and life and all life processes on Earth needed.
Apples are a symbol of fertility. In Christianity, the apple, the fruit of temptation, which the tree of knowledge of good and evil grows. In the Middle Ages for some churches. called Paradise decorated with apples trees (spruce) up.
Probably lametta like Christmas tree decorations and other shiny objects to do with the precious gifts of the Holy Three Kings.