TRADITIONS – CHRISTMAS TREE PART II

GOOD MORNING WORLD

I had such fun yesterday writing about Christmas trees I thought I would carry it forward one more day.  There were so many things I could of said and didn’t.  PART II gives me the chance.

The history of the Christmas Tree goes back to winter solstice celebrations and early superstitions surrounding the shortest day and longest night.  Beliefs were that the evergreens were a sign of renewed life that came after and the ancients utilized evergreens in the celebrations around the solstice.

It was Germany that is given credit for the beginning of the tradition of the Christmas Tree as we know it dating back to the 16th century.  The Christians brought trees into their homes and decorated them.  If trees were scarce they made pyramids of wood and added boughs.  Martin Luther is credited with adding candles as he was out for a walk and was amazed by the brilliant evening sky with all the stars.  He decided to wire candles to his tree to commemorate this beauty.

I was interested to discover from history.com that the first record of a Christmas Tree in America in individuals homes was not until the 1800’s in a German colony in Pennsylvania.  That colony did have a community tree as far back as 1747.  The Pilgrims associated a Christmas Tree as pagan.  They wanted to keep the day sacred.

From history.com :”….Oliver Cromwell preached against “the heathen traditions” of Christmas carols, decorated trees, and any joyful expression that desecrated “that sacred event.” In 1659, the General Court of Massachusetts enacted a law making any observance of December 25 (other than a church service) a penal offense; people were fined for hanging decorations. That stern solemnity continued until the 19th century, when the influx of German and Irish immigrants undermined the Puritan legacy.”

The trees were mostly decorated with homemade ornaments, nuts, berries, cookies until the late 1800s when ornaments began arriving from Germany and other European countries.  The advent of electricity brought lights to the trees as well, especially in town squares.

I believe I wrote of the Christmas Tree in Rockefeller Center in a previous post.  I had great fun chatting with the man in charge of setting it up while I was there after Thanksgiving.  In looking up the history of the Christmas Tree I found that the first one was placed there in 1931.  It was during the Depression and had been put there by construction workers in the middle of the site.  It was unadorned.  Two years later a tree was placed there with lights.  The man I spoke with said that this years tree was the tallest at 81′ and had the most lights counting 40,000.  The history.com site said that the largest tree was 100′ in 1948 and was a Norway Spruce from Connecticut.  The gentleman I spoke with had only been doing his job for 25 years so may not have known this bit of trivia!

I really enjoy finding information I did not know and above is a lot of it!!!  I do know that I love Christmas Trees.  To honor that, my husband gave me a gift of dishes with Christmas Tress on them on our anniversary in November one year.  To acknowledge my enjoyment of things different the dishes are octagonal.   One piece of this set was a trivet given to me by a next door neighbor years ago.  Each year when I bring out the dishes I get to think of our friendship and times we shared and the joy that we are still in touch after all these years.

I like Christmas Trees so much that I wear them during the season.  I have 4 sweaters with Christmas Tree on them.  The first I bought in 1991 (or so) and it is bejeweled.  It is a black sweater with a tree filled with multicolored jewels – bedazzled.  I think it is great.  Others do not.  In fact a couple of guys have written a book about Ugly Christmas sweaters and even have a web-site ‘myuglychristmassweater.com’.  I visited it and was gratified not to see any sweaters that looked like mine!  That means mine are okay- right?

O Tannenbaum how lovely are your branches……from about.com

 

Deutsch
Tannenbaum
TEXT: Ernst Anschütz, 1824
MELODIE: Volksweise (traditional)

O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum,
wie treu sind deine Blätter!
Du grünst nicht nur
zur Sommerzeit,
Nein auch im Winter, wenn es schneit.
O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum,
wie treu sind deine Blätter!

O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum!
Du kannst mir sehr gefallen!
Wie oft hat nicht zur Weihnachtszeit
Ein Baum von dir mich hoch erfreut!
O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum!
Du kannst mir sehr gefallen!

O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum!
Dein Kleid will mich
was lehren:
Die Hoffnung und Beständigkeit
Gibt Trost und Kraft
zu jeder Zeit.
O Tannenbaum, o Tannenbaum!
Das soll dein Kleid
mich lehren.

English
O Christmas Tree
Literal English translation – HF
Traditional melody

O Christmas tree, o Christmas tree
How loyal are your leaves/needles!
You’re green not only
in the summertime,
No, also in winter when it snows.
O Christmas tree, o Christmas tree
How loyal are your leaves/needles!

O Christmas tree, o Christmas tree
You can please me very much!
How often has not at Christmastime
A tree like you given me such joy!
O Christmas tree, o Christmas tree,
You can please me very much!

O Christmas tree, o Christmas tree
Your dress wants to
teach me something:
Your hope and durability
Provide comfort and strength
at any time.
O Christmas tree, o Christmas tree,
That’s what your dress should
teach me.

 

…..ONWARD TO MORE MISADVENTURE…

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