The Tradition of the Christmas Wreath

Christmas Wreath (from Wikpedia)
Christmas Wreath (from Wikpedia)

Some of the earliest wreaths known were from the Persian Empire where they symbolized victory and pride. The wreath is also said to represent the sun’s return after a long winter.

During the Winter Solstice festivities in northern Europe they burned a giant Sunwheel, which was put on fire and rolled down a hill to entice the Sun to return. According to one theory, this is the origin of the Christmas wreath.

Wreaths have long been made of evergreen plants; holly, icy, and pine. These evergreens represent everlasting life, immortality, and renewal. People of northern Europe used evergreens to decorate their homes during Yule which was celebrated during the Winter Solstice, and the Romans did likewise for Saturnalia (also celebrated around the solstice).

In the nineteenth century an American custom was to use greens and boughs for wreaths as memorials, honoring the dead at Christmas. The boughs would be woven into wreaths, Christmas stars, and crosses for graves. Later, the boughs would be removed from the cemeteries by family members and brought home, where they continued to symbolize the season as holiday decor. 

Traditional Christmas wreaths are a symbol of faith. Since wreaths are a circle with no beginning or end, they symbolize God’s eternity and mercy during the Christmas season. Their green color is seen as a representation of hope and new life.

During the Winter Solstice festivities they burned a giant Sunwheel, which was put on fire and rolled down a hill to entice the Sun to return. According to one theory, this is the origin of the Christmas wreath.

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