Horticulture

History of Christmas Trees and Ornaments

The fir tree has a long association with Christianity, it began in Germany almost 1,000 years ago when St Boniface, who converted the German people to Christianity, was said to have come across a group of pagans worshipping an oak tree. In anger, St Boniface is said to have cut down the oak tree and to his amazement a young fir tree sprung up from the roots of the oak tree. St Boniface took this as a sign of the Christian faith. But it was not until the 16th century that fir trees were brought indoors at Christmas time.

CHRISTMAS TREE TRADITION HAS ANCIENT ORIGINS

King Tut never saw a Christmas tree, but he would have understood the tradition which traces back long before the first Christmas, says David Robson, Extension Educator, Horticulture with the Springfield Extension Center.

The Egyptians were part of a long line of cultures that treasured and worshipped evergreens. When the winter solstice arrive, they brought green date palm leaves into their homes to symbolize life’s triumph over death.

The Romans celebrated the winter solstice with a fest called Saturnalia in honor of Saturnus, the god of agriculture. They decorated their houses with greens and lights and exchanged gifts. They gave coins for prosperity, pastries for happiness, and lamps to light one’s journey through life.

Centuries ago in Great Britain, woods priests called Druids used evergreens during mysterious winter solstice rituals. The Druids used holly and mistletoe as symbols of eternal life, and place evergreen branches over doors to keep away evil spirits.

Late in the Middle Ages, Germans and Scandinavians placed evergreen trees inside their homes or just outside their doors to show their hope in the forthcoming spring. Our modern Christmas tree evolved from these early traditions.

Legend has it that Martin Luther began the tradition of decorating trees to celebrate Christmas. One crisp Christmas Eve, about the year 1500, he was walking through snow-covered woods and was struck by the beauty of a group of small evergreens. Their branches, dusted with snow, shimmered in the moonlight. When he got home, he set up a little fir tree indoors so he could share this story with his children. He decorated it with candles, which he lighted in honor of Christ’s birth.

The Christmas tree tradition most likely came to the United States with Hessian troops during the American Revolution, or with German immigrants to Pennsylvania and Ohio, adds Robson.

But the custom spread slowly. The Puritans banned Christmas in New England. Even as late as 1851, a Cleveland minister nearly lost his job because he allowed a tree in his church. Schools in Boston stayed open on Christmas Day through 1870, and sometimes expelled students who stayed home.

The Christmas tree market was born in 1851 when Catskill farmer Mark Carr hauled two ox sleds of evergreens into New York City and sold them all. By 1900, one in five American families had a Christmas tree, and 20 years later, the custom was nearly universal.

Christmas tree farms sprang up during the depression. Nurserymen couldn’t sell their evergreens for landscaping, so they cut them for Christmas trees. Cultivated trees were preferred because they have a more symmetrical shape then wild ones.

Six species account for about 90 percent of the nation’s Christmas tree trade. Scotch pine ranks first, comprising about 40 percent of the market, followed by Douglas fir which accounts for about 35 percent. The other big sellers are noble fir, white pine, balsam fir and white spruce.

Courtesy: http://www.christmas-tree.com

St. Boniface Story

Why do we have a decorated Christmas Tree? In the 7th century a monk from Crediton, Devonshire, went to Germany to teach the Word of God. He did many good works there, and spent much time in Thuringia, an area which was to become the cradle of the Christmas Decoration Industry.

Legend has it that he used the triangular shape of the Fir Tree to describe the Holy Trinity of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. The converted people began to revere the Fir tree as God’s Tree, as they had previously revered the Oak. By the 12th century it was being hung, upside-down, from ceilings at Christmastime in Central Europe, as a symbol of Christianity.

The first decorated tree was at Riga in Latvia, in 1510. In the early 16th century, Martin Luther is said to have decorated a small Christmas Tree with candles, to show his children how the stars twinkled through the dark night.

Courtesy: http://www.christmasarchives.com

A heavenly trip …

I had a chance of visiting ma grandma’s home which is a typical village where we can find all sorts of old customs. I loved being there though I had some different experiences. I was used to city traditions of doing things from morning till evening. But when you go to such kind of villages you might feel surprised and some kind of nostalgic feeling. It’s because there are lots of things that turns you on from our lifestyle. Let me list it down:

  1. I was used to get up around 7 am in my place. But there people used to get up early morning at 5 am and begin their routine works. Kinda difficult for me coz those people doest stop by themselves getting up, they force us to get up too 😦
  2.  I haven’t seen the sky so beautiful and felt the fresh air touch my skin making me feel so energetic in my place. I used to come out of ma home only after 9. Its weird actually but this is what happens to most of the people living in cities.
  3. I saw greeneries wherever I turn around in village. So much pleasing to eyes watching plants and the due drops on the leaves and flowers and the tiny plants that took up its head for a new beginning. Nature is really lovely 🙂 . In ma place greeneries are only seen in televisions rarely 😦
  4. What the hell is this??? I cannot see houses as far as I could see. During night time I was just freaking out by the solitude home stay and the weird sounds of frogs and many other unknown creatures. I was hell-stuck in the night time and for sure I haven’t slept even a single minute. But that was quiet a different experience in daytime as I started enjoying the solitude staying. Coz in cities we could see houses build clustered and roads congested. But it’s totally a different world out here.
  5. The best and final thing is the people out there. Where are they from?? So much of love, care and affection from each and every single people I look at though we are not related to each other. Their innocent and childish hearts attracted me and I felt sad leaving that place.

I had a bit of experience for being in a heaven though it was for just a single day. Am not sure whether I would go to heaven after my death but am sure I had experienced how staying at heaven would feel like.

Below are few shots I took with my mobile…

This was the first shot i took when i got up at 5.30 am…

This is the grass you can see which was around the house…

This was the side view of a beautiful sunrise from the house…

These are the coconut trees that are grown before the house… Cute nah 🙂

Its the Watermelon !!!

Its the watermelon plant grown over the roof of the store room…

This is the picture i took at 6 am… Can you find the difference between half an hour before sunrise and after sunrise? Such a lovely scene 🙂

Finally i have to say you all one simple yet valuable thought… Please do visit your grandparents in villages which might take you to heaven and also make them happy 🙂 🙂 🙂

Photography Week – Flowers

Flowers are what makes us feel peaceful when we are in distress.

Flowers are what makes us smile when we are in pain.

Flowers are what makes us remember the happy moments when we have a huge fight with our beloveds.

Flowers are what makes us feel relaxed when we are under pressure.

Flowers are what the peace makers of our hurry-bury lifestyle.

Flowers are what accompanies you in times of Loneliness.

Do have a flower on your table at work to make your work a peaceful one 🙂 🙂 🙂

This week is dedicated for the flowers in my photography week.

Hope you all enjoy this flower week photographs 🙂 🙂 🙂

Do provide your valuable comments 🙂