How did the use of Christmas Trees Begin?

            What are the first two things that come into your mind when you think of Christmas? I’m sure it is –Santa Claus and the Christmas tree. Do you know when and how the use of the Christmas tree began?

Christmas Tree

            The Christmas tree is an evergreen tree, usually, a balsam or Douglas fir, decorated with lights, tinsels and festoons as a part of Christmas festivities. The Christmas tree has its roots in the customs of ancient Egyptians, Chinese and Hebrews who treated the wraths and garlands of evergreen trees as a symbol of eternal life. The Romans draped their temples with green branches of trees. Tree worship, common among the pagan Europeans, survived even after their conversion to Christianity. These included the customs of decorating their housed in the New Year to scare away the devil and to set up a tree for the birds flying around this time.

            The modern Christmas tree originated in West Germany. The main prop used in popular medieval play about Adam and eve was a fir tree hung with apples paradise tree representing the Garden of Eden.

            The Germans used to set up a paradise tree in their home son December 24, the religious feast day of Adam and eve. They hung wafers on it. They also used a Christmas pyramid- a triangular construction of wood with shelves to hold Christmas figurines, candles and a star. By the 16th century, the Christmas pyramid and the paradise tree had merged and the result was the modern Christmas tree. In northern Europe, a tree is the central feature of Christmas decorations.

            The custom became wide spread among the German Lutherans by the 18th century. Later, it was introduced in England by the German Prince Albert, the husband of Queen Victoria in the mid-19th century.

            The Victorian tree was decorated with candles, candies and fancy cakes that hung form the branches by ribbon and paper chains. Prince Albert had the first such Christmas tree set up at Windsor castle in 1841.

            The German immigrants brought this tradition to wider use in the United States in the 17th century. By the 19th century, these trees soon came at peak of fashion in America. They also became popular in Austria, Switzerland, Poland and Holland. In China and Japan, the Christmas trees, introduced by US missionaries in the 19th and 20th centuries, were decorated with beautiful paper designs.