How Christmas Trees Became a Holiday Tradition
In Germany, "Paradise Plays" were performed to celebrate the feast day of Adam and Eve, which was on Christmas Eve. A tree of knowledge was represented by an evergreen fir with apples tied to its branches.
In 1419, a guild in Freiburg put up a tree decorated with apples, wafers, tinsel and gingerbread.
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The first verse of the Christmas carol, The Twelve Days of Christmas, evolved as a festive memory game. The list of objects or animals builds with each verse and forfeits are impos...
This carol reveals customs. Under the Tudor monarchs, wassailing and mumming were still practised, with carollers and players performing from door to door.
It was bad luck not to reward their efforts with food and drink, including the 'figgy pudding,' or Christmas pudding.
A favourite Welsh folk song during the 16th century we know today as Deck the Halls only acquired Christmassy words in the 19th century.
Deck the Halls had words that would not have suited the prim Victorians. In the 1860s, Thomas Oliphant changed the lines to suit the dancing melody and lively 'fa la la' chorus for the celebration of Christmas preparations.
In ancient Greek, lyric poetry identified the heart with love.
Greek philosophers agreed that the heart was linked to our strongest emotions, including love. Plato thought the heart was re...
The ancient Romans believed there was a vein extending from the fourth finger of the left hand directly to the heart.
In the medieval period in Salisbury, England, the groom was told to place a ring on the bride's fourth finger during a marriage ceremony, because of that vein.
During the 12th and 13th centuries, minstrels in France celebrated a form of love that we call today courtly love. The troubadour was to pledge his whole heart to only one woman and promise to be true to her forever. He'd sing to her and the members of the court to which she belonged.
During this time, artists depicted love between a couple as a fanciful tree that rises to form the outline of a heart. It carries within it a coat of arms bearing the Latin word AMOR (love).
Santa and his reindeer, the carols, the lights, and the massive consumer spending on gifts did not happen immediately upon the birth of Christ.
By the mid-1800s, the holiday had picked up v...
Thomas Nast gave us our image of Santa, but Henry Bessemer figured out how to make steel rapidly, cheaply, and abundantly. He completely revolutionized some of the greatest of human industries.
His rails connected almost every corner of the United States, making it possible to move products and messages of love across the nation.
Society's view was propelled by trains full of Christmas trees, Christmas cards, and Christmas gifts.
The Christmas tree came first as big business in the 19th century. Christmas trees were hauled by train from Maine to New York City. Along with the Christmas tree came the Christmas card. The last piece of the holiday was the tradition of giving gifts. A Times article in 1890 declared "an epidemic in giving and receiving presents".