Monday, 7 December 2020

The Yule Tree

A traditionally decorated Christmas tree in shades of red and green stood by a stone wall and wooden door

The festivities have started on the Cemetery; the Spirit of Yuletide has been invited into our space. The tree is up!

Evergreen plants and trees have always had a special meaning for people in winter; they represent eternal life. Ancient peoples hung evergreen boughs over their doors and windows, and many folk believed they would also keep away witches, ghosts, evil spirits, and illness.

Gradually, sacred tree imagery was absorbed by the Christian church, and Germany is credited with starting the Christmas tree tradition that we know now; in the 16th century devout Christians brought decorated trees into their homes.

In Britain, the tradition of decorating churches and homes with evergreens at Christmas was long established, but the custom of decorating an entire small tree was unknown until roughly two centuries ago. Queen Victoria had been familiar with the Christmas tree tradition as a child; and after her marriage to her German cousin Prince Albert, the custom became even more widespread. In 1846 they were sketched in the Illustrated London News standing with their children around a Christmas tree. Being very popular royals what was done at court immediately became fashionable; and wealthy British middle-class families immediately followed suit, with this fashion spreading overseas to the United States.

Personally, for me, the tree is not only a reminder of the season and the fact that the Sun will soon return at the Solstice; but it is a symbol of unity - many different belief systems hold a festival of light at this time of year.

Do you have a Yule or Christmas tree? What colour are your decorations? Are your decorations up yet? Do you have any special family traditions?

© Original content; repost with clear, written credits. @the_cemetery_witch

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