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Τρίτη, 23 Δεκεμβρίου 2014

Christmas tree history.

The Christmas Tree 1911 by Albert Chevallier Tayler

The Christmas tree is one of the most popular and cherished Christmas customs. 
The first documented use of a tree at Christmas and New Year celebrations is in town square of Riga, the capital of Latvia, in the year 1510. 
In the square there is a plaque which is engraved with "The First New Year's Tree in Riga in 1510", in eight languages. 
Not much is known about the tree, apart from that it was attended by men wearing black hats, and that after a ceremony they burnt the tree. 


Young woman decorates the Christmas tree, painting by Marcel Rieder (1862-1942) 

A picture from Germany in 1521 which shows a tree being paraded through the streets with a man riding a horse behind it. The man is dressed a bishop, possibly representing St. Nicholas.
Vladimir Yakovlevich Shcherban ( 1919)

The first first person to bring a Christmas Tree into a house, in the way we know it today, may have been the 16th century German preacher Martin Luther. 
A story is told that, one night before Christmas, he was walking through the forest and looked up to see the stars shining through the tree branches. 
It was so beautiful, that he went home and told his children that it reminded him of Jesus, who left the stars of heaven to come to earth at Christmas. 
Father and son with their dog collecting a tree in the forest,by Franz Krüger (1797–1857)

Once on a cold Christmas Eve night, a forester and his family were in their cottage gathered round the fire to keep warm. Suddenly there was a knock on the door. 
When the forester opened the door, he found a poor little boy standing on the door step, lost and alone. 
The forester welcomed him into his house and the family fed and washed him and put him to bed in the youngest sons own bed (he had to share with his brother that night!). 
The next morning, Christmas Morning, the family were woken up by a choir of angels, and the poor little boy had turned into Jesus, the Christ Child. 
The Christ Child went into the front garden of the cottage and broke a branch off a Fir tree and gave it to the family as a present to say thank you for looking after him. 
So ever since them, people have remembered that night by bringing a Christmas Tree into their homes.
There is another legend, from Germany, about how the Christmas Tree came into being, it goes:

Once on a cold Christmas Eve night, a forester and his family were in their cottage gathered round the fire to keep warm. Suddenly there was a knock on the door. 
When the forester opened the door, he found a poor little boy standing on the door step, lost and alone. 
The forester welcomed him into his house and the family fed and washed him and put him to bed in the youngest sons own bed (he had to share with his brother that night!). 
The next morning, Christmas Morning, the family were woken up by a choir of angels, and the poor little boy had turned into Jesus, the Christ Child. 
The Christ Child went into the front garden of the cottage and broke a branch off a Fir tree and gave it to the family as a present to say thank you for looking after him. 
So ever since them, people have remembered that night by bringing a Christmas 
Tree into their homes.
Franz Skarbina - 1892. Remembering Christmas 

The Christians had the fir as a symbol of the Tree of Life.

Early Christians knew their symbolism well, as they added candles and apples to their Christmas firs.
These candles represented the light of Christ.
The apples symbolized knowledge which spawned man's original sin according to Christian belief.
Here we see the light of Christ absolving the “fall of man” within the immortal symbol of the Christmas tree .

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