Wreaths to spread holiday cheer
The Christmas wreath is one of the most popular and traditional holiday decorations. Holiday wreaths are used in numerous ways; they often appear on the external doors of homes, grace living room or dining room walls, or even serve as table accentuations or centerpieces during Christmas feasts. There is also the Advent wreath, which is an important Christian symbol and is used to mark the four-week period leading up to Christmas Day known as "Advent."
Christmas wreaths are also frequently seen on cards, and may be included as a decorative accessory in a holiday gift basket. But many people don't know much about the history or significance of the Christmas wreath, and it offers a fascinating glimpse into the evolution of the world's most beloved and anticipated holiday.
The History of the Holiday Wreath
The ancient Romans believed that wreaths had magical abilities, and they were commonly used in gift exchanges during the celebration of Roman pagan holidays. However, once Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire, the wreath was simply adopted into the rapidly spreading new religion. It is one of many examples of pagan customs being adapted into Christian iconography, which many historians and scholars believe was done to make it easier for new converts to adapt to the Christian faith.
Sprigs of holly and mistletoe constitute a closely related Christmas tradition, and the origins of these, curiously enough, lie with the Druids, an ancient Celtic pagan culture. Holly is an evergreen plant with a distinctive sheen that lasts throughout the year, which made Druidic priests believe it had magical properties. Holly also bears red berries as fruit, and many historians believe that this is where the traditional Christmas colors of red and green come from in the first place.
You may not realize it, but when you use a Christmas wreath to decorate your home, you are participating in a holiday tradition with a history that spans back into the times before Christ was even born. These holiday decorations are a welcome addition to any home during the Christmas season, and are among the most affordable and tasteful ornaments out there.