Today, we’ll discover that the Christmas tree is more or less an iconic figure in the lives of people around the world. As people celebrate Christmas for different reasons, their tree decorations reflect their approach and views clearly. If you want to expand your Christmas-tree-decorating horizons, read on!
5. Japan’s denizens treat the holiday as a secular event centered around the love of their own children. As such, trees are often decorated with small toys, dolls, wind chimes, and paper origami figures, including that of the swan, which Japanese children have purportedly exchanged with thousands of young people around the world as a pledge to prevent another war from escalating again. Taking after a German tradition (which will be covered later), miniature candles are also placed among the branches.
4. Families in Norway do what their past generations didn’t think of doing: take home firs from neighboring woods. This was because the concept of the Christmas tree did not take root (pun intended) until word from Germany reached its southern shores halfway through the 19th century. The rest of the country had to wait even longer. The tree itself isn’t decorated until Christmas Eve, and then only by the parents, behind closed doors, while the children wait outside in the nippy cold. Soon after the children are allowed back in, everyone joins hands around the tree and walk in a circle around it, singing carols upon carols and exchanging gifts.
3. People in North America (particularly Canada and the US) also had to wait for the Germans to bring their traditions to their continent. Naturally, this included cookies, Advent calendars, and gingerbread houses, among others. The practice thereof remained isolated — dependent on the German immigrants themselves — until Queen Victoria’s German husband, Prince Albert, set up a Christmas tree in Windsor Castle in 1848. Because Queen Victoria was immensely popular under her subjects, and watched closely by the fashion-conscious eastern seaboard of the US, Christmas trees became a tradition instantly in these places, as well as the Queen’s home domain, England.
2. In Italy, where the tree is a secondary symbol of Christmas, the presepio (manger) represents what many believe as the reason for the season: the Holy Family. The scene is so powerful that guests kneel before it and musicians play around it. The figures therein are hand-carved and very detailed in features and dress. Something akin to our tree, the ceppo, is set somewhere close to the presepio. The ceppo is a pyramid-like wooden structure with several wooden shelves supporting the three rods forming the vertices of the pyramid, decorated primarily with colored paper, gilt pine cones, and miniature colored pennants. A smaller presepio forms the foundation of the ceppo, as it were, with other ornaments placed on the higher shelves, candles on the corners of each level, and an angel or star at the apex of the pyramid.
1. Finally, we come to the place where it all began. Germany and its people had been practicing the tradition for centuries before it spread far from its ever-changing borders. According to legend, Martin Luther brought a fir tree home because he admired the beauty of the stars through the trees. He proceeded to place small candles on the branches to bring his vision of “the Christmas sky” indoors. Another legend tells of an early 16th-century combination of customs that brought forth what we know now as the Christmas tree: a fir tree with apples representing the Tree of Knowledge in the Garden of Eden was replaced with tinsel balls, cookies, and a candle on top of the tree symbolizing Christ as the Light of the World. The Tannenbaum, like the tree in Norway, is decorated in secret by the mother with lights, tinsel and ornaments, and is also lit on Christmas Eve with cookies, nuts, and gifts at its base.
We at Iconic Mobile Retail wish you and yours a safe, happy and fruitful tree-shopping and decorating experience.