Harrogate Christmas Trees

All About Christmas Trees

Trees and plants that stay green all year round have always been special, even before Christianity began.

The evergreen fir was traditionally used to celebrate winter festivals (pagan and Christian) for many thousands of years. Pagans would adorn their houses with fir branches during the winter solstice, as it made them look forward to the spring season that was coming.

Romans decorated their temples with Fir trees, and Christians adopted them as a sign of everlasting life with God.

In many countries across the world it was commonly believed that evergreens would ward off witches, ghosts, evil spirits and even illness!

Winter Solstice

Here in the Northern hemisphere the shortest day and therefore the longest night falls three or four days before Christmas Day and is called the Winter Solstice. In ancient times people believed the Sun was a God and that Winter came every year as the Sun God had become sick and weak. The Winter Solstice was celebrated in the belief the Sun God would start to get better and the days would therefore become longer leading up to the start of Spring. Evergreen boughs were chosen to remind them of all the green plants that would grow once again when the Sun God was stronger and Summer would return.

The Start of the Christmas Tree

Germany is credited with starting the tradition of having an evergreen tree in houses in the 16th Century, about 1550, when devout Christians installed decorated trees in their homes.

Candles on the Tree

Walking home one Winter evening, Martin Luther, a 16th Century Protestant reformer was struck by the brilliance of the stars twinkling amidst the evergreens. To replicate the scene for his family, he erected a tree in the main room of his house and added wire to the branches to hold lighted candles.

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British Christmas Tree Growers Association