Christmas Tree Origins
In the 8th Century, St Boniface felled an oak (at the same time as felling Paganism), and a fir tree grew from under, dedicated to Christ.
The festival of Yule among Norse people focused on the endurance of Fir, Holly and Pine Trees and other evergreens. Today, it is still Fir, Pine and Spruce trees that are commonly taken into our homes to become Christmas trees with shimmer decorations that encourage the light.
Pine is associated with life and rebirth; many trees grow from a single pine cone. The Christmas tree of Yggdrasil (Norse World Tree) link heaven and earth. Odin was the father of the Norse Gods, his name gives us the origins of Yule, and in Norse, he was called Jolnir. As Christianity spread into Europe, Yule became assimilated with Christmas. Although today, Yule is more often associated with the Pagan celebration – Winter Solstice.
Folklore considers mistletoe to be a magical plant. One use was to add mistletoe nutrients to cattle’s drinking water to encourage fertility. It was considered an aphrodisiac and protection against poison.
In the middle Ages, branches-of-mistletoe adorned ceilings to ward off evil spirits. Then, in Europe, the mistletoe plant was utilised around houses and stable doors to prevent the entrance of witches. In Scandinavia, mistletoe was considered a plant of peace, under which enemies could declare a truce. Or warring spouses could kiss and make-up underneath.
Much later, ‘kissing bushes’ were hung in rooms where people frequently passed each other. If a couple in love exchange a kiss under the mistletoe, then a promise to marry was inferred. It is also a prediction of happiness and long life. In other traditions, such a kiss could mean deep romance or lasting friendship and goodwill, but if a girl remained unkissed, she could not expect to marry the following year.Tweet