The pagan origin of the christmas tree
The pagan origin of the Christmas tree
If we have a look around us these days we will see multitude of trees adorned with lights, balls and bows. Everyone can recognize it: it is the Christmas tree!
What is its origin? What does it really represent?
Does it make sense for a secular society to continue to be used?
The Fighting Fire with Ice Cream installation. Alex Chinneck, London 2016
In ancient times, the Germans were convinced that both the Earth and the Astros hung from a gigantic tree, the Divine Idrasil or Tree of the Universe, whose roots were in hell and its cup, in the sky.
They, to celebrate the winter solstice-which occurs at this time in the Northern Hemisphere, decorated an oak tree with torches and danced around it.
Around 740, St. Boniface - the evangelizer of Germany and England - overthrew that oak that represented God Odin and replaced it with a pine tree, the symbol of God's eternal love. This tree was adorned with apples (which for Christians represent temptations) and candles (which symbolized the light of the world and divine grace).
Being a perennial or evergreen species, pine is the symbol of eternal life. In addition, its triangle shape represents the Holy Trinity.
In the Middle Ages, this custom spread throughout the old world and, after the conquest, arrived in America. The first tree is described by Daniel Okrent in his book “Great Fortune: The Epic of Rockefeller Center.”
“The progenitor of the world’s most famous Christmas tree was a relatively modest balsam rising out of a rock floor near the eastern end of the central block. On Dec. 24, 1931, some very fortunate men dressed the tree in strings of cranberries, garlands of paper, and even a few tin cans, then took places in line beside it. The men didn’t look fortunate, shuffling forward in their dust-caked work boots and grimy overalls, but as the line reached the clerk standing beside an upended wooden crate next to the tree, each man was handed proof of his luck: a paycheck.”
The first Rockefeller Center Christmas tree, 1931. Credit Associated Press