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