St Aiden's Homeschool – Our Other Blog

December 24, 2009

More Christmas Traditions From Around the World

Filed under: Christmas, Currclick Titles — Tags: — Donnette E Davis @ 10:23 pm

It may be interesting to note that many Christmas traditions we perform during the holiday did not originate in America at all. Remember, when America was just an infant itself, it was comprised of many different peoples from many different countries. And these people had their own “homeland” traditions that they carried right along with them.

The Christmas Tree
Besides a beautiful blanket of freshly fallen, glistening snow, Christmas Trees really make the holiday special. Each one has it’s own personality. Much like snowflakes.   But, did the tradition begin in America? ~ Certainly not!

It actually began in Germany. In about the 8th century, there was a missionary that went by the name of Winfred. Later this man attained Sainthood and was called St. Boniface. As the story goes, St. Boniface happened to run across a group of pagan worshipers near an oak tree, who were in the process of making a human sacrifice by means of a small boy, to their god, Thor.

Enraged by what he saw, St. Boniface chopped down the oak tree immediately. Once the tree was down, St. Boniface noticed that a tiny fir tree had miraculously sprung up in its place!

At this time, and forever after, the image of the fir tree was a symbol of Christianity and one of everlasting life.

Not until the 16th century did bringing a living tree indoors become a tradition. There is much speculation as to who exactly this tradition is accredited to. But, here is one scenario.

Around the year 1500, a man by the name of Martin Luther saw an amazing site one winter evening while walking home. Some say it was Christmas Eve. He came across a small patch of evergreen trees in the woods, covered with freshly fallen snow that seemed to twinkle in the moonlight.

Martin Luther thought this was such a beautiful sight, that he wished to share the story with his family. Thus, Martin Luther cut down a small  fir tree, took it into his home, and decorated it with small, lit candles tied to the branches to recreate what he saw. It is believed that the lighting of the candles was to simulate the stars that shone in the night sky, just as they had done during the first Christmas Eve over the small town of Bethlehem.

That was the earliest documented case of the indoor Christmas Tree. In the above Martin Luther story, more people give him credit for decorating the first Christmas Tree, however.

From 1500 or so up until around 1700, the indoor Christmas Tree was growing as a German custom in certain areas.

After the year 1700 or thereabouts, adding lights and decorations such as apples etc., really made this custom take off and placed it into “tradition” status quickly across the land.

It is even rumored that during the Revolutionary War of 1776, in what is now more commonly known as Trenton, New Jersey, the Hessian soldiers left their posts to celebrate around a candlelit evergreen tree on Christmas Eve, with thoughts of home. Because of this, they were defeated by George Washington and his troops.

Then, around 1848, England’s Queen Victoria was presented with the gift of a Christmas Tree from her husband, Prince Albert. It’s important to note that Price Albert was of Germanic descent, and therefore, having an indoor, decorated tree would be more traditional to him.

When the people saw the sight of this gorgeously decorated and glowing indoor tree, they decided that “if it was good enough for the Queen we love and admire so much, then it must be good enough for us!”. Thus more and more homes across England began including the “royal” tradition of a Christmas Tree into the holiday season.

Eventually, the tradition of an indoor, freshly cut and decorated Christmas Tree became a part of our own American Tradition and was commonplace by the 1960’s. Since then, the Christmas Tree has become a symbol of the American Christmas holiday traditions long steeped in far off culture.

Fore More Info Visit St Aiden’s Homeschool Christmas Activities ~ 1000s free downloads and printable educational activities

For An American Christmas Traditions and eBook click here

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