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Today, Day Four, is dedicated to Christmas trees!
Taken December 2010, Hong Kong
The Christmas or Yule tree, is a decorated evergreen tree and is probably the most important tradition associated with the celebration of Christmas for many people. Christmas trees, real or artificial, are traditionally brought into the home and decorated with Christmas lights, ornaments, garlands, tinsel, and candy canes at Christmas.
Another Christmas Tree photo taken in Hong Kong...Can you tell I love Christmas?!
Tiffany Tree, The Grand Piazza, 1881 Heritage, Tsim Sha Tsui, Hong Kong.
Trees have always been a symbol of life, especially the evergreen firs that have foliage in the coldest days of winter. It's no surprsie then that the tree is important and symbolic in many religions, all over the world. The Gauls and the druids revered the oak, the Scandinavians the Ash, and in the Alsace region it was the Fir. There have always been celebrations around the time of the winter solstice and when Christmas was first celebrated in Rome on 25th December 354 AD, it was an alteration of the existing festival of Saturnalia.
This one was taken this year, at the Shangri-La Hotel in Singapore, January 2011.
The tradition of decorating a tree at Christmas started in Livonia and Germany in the 16th century. The word Tannenbaum, a German word for "fir tree", is often transliterated into English as "Christmas tree" although the literal meaning of "Christmas tree" is encapsulated in the word "Weihnachtsbaum." According to the first documented uses of a Christmas tree in Estonia, in 1441, 1442, and 1514 the Brotherhood of Blackheads erected a tree for the holidays in their brotherhood house in Reval. At the last night of the celebrations leading up to the holidays, the tree was taken to the Town Hall Square where the members of the brotherhood danced around it.
With its 40,000 lights, the 45 metre tall Christmas tree takes centre stage at the Dortmund Christmas market in Germany.
By the early 18th century, the custom had become common in towns of the upper Rhineland, but it had not yet spread to rural areas. Wax candles are attested from the late 18th century. The Christmas tree remained confined to the upper Rhineland for a relatively long time. It was regarded as a Protestant custom by the Roman Catholic majority along the lower Rhine and was spread there only by Prussian officials who were moved there in the wake of the Congress of Vienna in 1815.
Princess Henrietta of Nassau-Weilburg introduced the Christmas tree to Vienna in 1816, and the custom spread across Austria in the following years. The first Christmas tree was apparently lit in Denmark in 1808 by countess Wilhemine of Holsteinborg. It was was also this very countess who told the story of the first Danish Christmas tree to Hans Christian Andersen in 1865.
Viennese city hall with the Christmas tree and the Viennese Christmas Market in front in Vienna, Austria, on (AP Photo/Ronald Zak)
The Christmas tree was introduced to Britain in early 19th century. Queen Victoria was very familiar with the custom and a tree was placed in her room every Christmas. In 1832, when she was 13, she wrote in her journal on Christmas Eve, "After dinner… we then went into the drawing-room near the dining-room… There were two large round tables on which were placed two trees hung with lights and sugar ornaments. All the presents being placed round the trees…" However, the custom didn't spread much beyond the royal family until she married her German cousin Prince Albert. By 1841 the custom became widespread throughout Britain.
A woodcut of the British Royal family with their Christmas tree at Windsor Castle, initially published in the Illustrated London News December 1848, was copied in the United States at Christmas 1850, in Godey's Lady's Book Godey's copied it exactly, except for the removal of the Queen's tiara and Prince Albert's mustache, to remake the engraving into an American scene. This republished Godey's image became the first widely circulated picture of a decorated evergreen Christmas tree in America.
The Queen's Christmas tree atWindsor Castle published in theIllustrated London News, 1848, and republished in Godey's Lady's Book, Philadelphia in December 1850.
Rockefeller Tree, New York.
Photo taken by me!
Christmas trees are such an integral part of Christmas celebrations around the world but many people believe that they don't have a strong connection to the religious side Christmas. Some Christians and churches highlight the religious aspect of the Christmas tree with a service of the Hanging of the Green. Some use a Christmas tree with ornaments representing symbols of the Christian Faith and others use a tree, either at home or in the sanctuary, as a Jesse Tree.
The Jesse Tree is an Advent Tree named from Isaiah 11:1: "A shoot will spring forth from the stump of Jesse, and a branch out of his roots." The Jesse Tree is a wonderful way of connecting the Advent Season with 4,000 years of religious history. The tree is decorated each week with ornaments or objects that represent Old Testament events from Creation to the Birth of Jesus. The ornaments are traditionally handmade, and are added one each day of Advent, or a group on each Sunday, with explanations of the symbols and a brief verse of Scripture from the story represented.
However we choose to decorate our Christmas trees each year, the Holidays will be forever linked to the sight, smell, sparkle and awe of the Christmas tree!
Jesse Tree via ourladyofrefuge.org
Here is our tree, all decorated for Christmas!
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So, you have seen how much I love Christmas trees; now it's time to show me yours! Please link up your Christmas tree posts today! You can post an old post, a new post, a Pinterest Post...anything to do with Christmas trees!
Thanks for linking up! Please come back soon to see what other fun Christmassy posts have been linked up.
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