How did people come up with decorating the Christmas tree for the New Year?

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Everyone loves the magical tradition of decorating the Christmas tree before the New Year. But have you ever wondered where this custom came from? It turns out that the tradition of decorating a fir tree has a rich history that goes back several hundred years!

Origins of tradition

Not many people realize that the custom of decorating a Christmas tree for Christmas and New Year has religious, Christian origins. It is believed that the spruce was chosen by the heavenly forces themselves to become a Christmas symbol.

According to legend, it happened like this: when the Magi learned that Jesus Christ was born, they went after the Star of Bethlehem to bring gifts to the future savior.

But when the father of Jesus, the carpenter Joseph, saw the magnificent gifts, he was upset: why can’t he, the poor carpenter, do anything to please the newborn baby? Joseph came out of the cave and suddenly saw how one coniferous tree brightly illuminates the high Star of Bethlehem … This tree was a spruce!

Joseph cut down a tree, put it near the cave and decorated it with candles. When the Magi saw the tree, they admired its splendor and took the fir cones with them. They spread the seeds all over the world so that people, like them on the night of the birth of Jesus, could decorate the tree with lights and admire its indescribable beauty in memory of the great baby.

However, there is another legend why the Christmas tree was chosen as the symbol of the New Year. Main reformer Germany (a person who carries out various useful transformations, changes in people’s lives) Martin Luther was returning home late at night, and on the way he decided to make a gift to his family in the form of a small coniferous tree.

At home, Luther, together with his family, decorated the tree with bows and candles, and after that people simply followed his example, because the reformer was a very smart, respected person and the whole country listened to him.

They say that for the first time about the decorated spruce was told in writing in Germany in 1605 — more than 400 years ago! And only 200 years after the first mention, the beautiful tradition reached Great Britain, France and America, and then to Russia.

Why the tree

Why did spruce, and not birch or palm, become the first symbol of Christmas and New Year? Here, too, everything is quite difficult, but very interesting!

It turns out that spruce, like a tree, has an ancient history of worship. In those days, when people considered all objects to be animated, they thought that spirits also live in coniferous trees. It was the spirits that helped the tree to keep its needles and even in severe frosts to remain green, strong, fresh.

Also, people thought that the spirits living in the fir trees were capable of sending blizzards, snowstorms, cold and severe frosts. To appease them, one had to use tricks: decorate the branches with fruits and flowers, perform ceremonies, read conspiracies.

We can say that spruce has long been considered the personification of eternal life, fearlessness, dignity, stamina, because this tree is evergreen.

The first Christmas tree in Russia

In Russia, the Christmas tree for the New Year began to decorate quite late compared to other countries.

This happened under Emperor Peter I, who adopted an interesting custom from his German comrades. But since the spruce was considered a Christian symbol, Peter ordered to change the system of calculating time. Therefore, from December 20, 1699, people began to celebrate the New Year not on September 1, as before, but on January 1.

Moreover, the emperor liked this amazing and original innovation so much that he even wrote recommendations on how to celebrate this holiday:

«Decorate Moscow houses with spruce and pine branches and cones, and everyone should have celebrated this day by celebrating with congratulations to all relatives and friends, dancing and shooting, launching rockets into the night sky«.

What used to decorate the Christmas tree

If the Christmas tree has remained an unnamed attribute of the New Year and Christmas since ancient times, then the decorations for it have always changed.

The very first spruce decorations were edible. Apples, nuts and even eggs were placed on the tree — symbols of fertility, prosperity, life. And people also believed that such decorations ward off evil spirits from the house.

The following spruce toys were made of wood, fabric, stone. With the development of science and technology, toys made of glass, felt, foil and plastic began to appear.

By the way, the first glass Christmas balls appeared in 1848 in Germany in the town of Laush quite by accident. One glassblower did not have goodies to decorate the spruce, and he decided to make decorations on his own — from glass.

However, the resulting toys were very thick and heavy. Gradually, technology improved, toys became lighter, more beautiful, and then spread throughout the world.

In the modern world, you can find Christmas decorations of various shapes and sizes. Instead of fire-dangerous candles, the Christmas tree is now decorated with safe light bulbs and lights, garlands and tinsel. And the tradition of putting a bright big star on top, similar to the one of Bethlehem, has also been preserved to this day.

How do you decorate the Christmas tree at home?

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