Have you ever paused while decorating your Christmas Tree and wondered… why? The sight of a beautifully lit tree playfully illuminating a window still stirs feelings of joy and nostalgia in many people, but why exactly do we do it? How did the Christmas Tree tradition begin?
The history of the modern Christmas Tree spans thousands of years. To ancient farmers, hanging the branch of an evergreen tree during the winter months served as a reassurance of the coming of spring, and a reminder of everlasting life. Whereas actually decorating a tree can be traced back to the Romans who, during their winter festival, decorated outdoor trees with small pieces of metal. This was done during Saturnalia, a winter festival in honour of Saturnus, the god of agriculture.
It was hundreds of years later, in the 16th century, that these traditions came together and we finally saw a more recognisable version of the modern Christmas Tree. The story goes that during a night-time walk through a forest of evergreens, the famous German reformist Martin Luther was so awestruck by the beauty of the stars shining through the branches, that he felt compelled to describe the experience to his family by bringing a tree into their home and decorating it with candles.
So, when you’re decorating your real Christmas Tree this season, take a moment to appreciate that you’re actually helping continue an ancient and much loved tradition. And that’s definitely something to be jolly about!