The symbols of Christmas

Merry Christmas, everyone! It's the time our savior Jesus Christ was born, and it is therefore just to give more love to each other. This is the best time of the year to celebrate and be merry.

Even before Christmas comes we decorate our homes with ornaments of green and red and of sparkling gold and silver, and also the lights of different dancing colors that twinkle at night. And as if these are not enough, we tend to load our homes with lots and lots of decors.

So what really are the symbols of Christmas and where exactly did they originate or what their beginnings were? I will share to you what I have read in our school publication last year.

christmas treeChristmas Tree
The Christmas tree originated in Germany where it was brought into homes for good luck and fertility. Because of the limbs far apart for easy decorating, white pines were used by then. The tree was illuminated with small wax candles and toys were placed on the tree limbs.

christmas star, starStar
This represents the strange star that appeared when Christ was born and symbolizes high hopes and high ideals—hope for good fortune and hope for reaching above oneself. In Holland, the Festival of Star is held where right after Christmas Eve meal the village priest acts as the "Star Man" and tests children's knowledge on religion. In Alaska, boys and girls carry a star-shaped figure from house to house and sing carols in hopes of receiving treats. In Hungary a star-shaped pattern is carved in a half on an apple and is supposed to bring good luck.

stocking, christmas stockingStocking
The tradition of hanging stockings in the fireplace originated in one of the most famous Christmas stories of St. Nicholas. Upon hearing of a family's misfortune, that of a father of three young maidens who could not afford a dowry for his daughters to be married, St. Nicholas threw three bags of gold coins down their chimney, and these coins landed in the girls' stockings hanging in the fireplace to dry.

santa claus, reindeer, sleighSanta Claus, sleigh and reindeer
All these appeared first in the story "A Visit from St. Nicholas" written by Clement C. Moore in 1823. The legend was taken from Russian story of Father Frost arriving in villages aboard a sled drawn by reindeer. The legend was also apparent in Holland, where children believed St. Nicholas would ride through the air, checking on children who misbehaved. Rudolph, the ninth reindeer, however, only came about on 1939 in a story by Robert L. May.

christmas candlesCandles
Candles were an important source of light and heat in the darkness during the winter solstice in the long cold month of December during ancient times. Ancient Romans lit candles to ward off evil and to convince the sun to shine anew. In Victorian times, candles represented good will. Candles were often placed in windows during the Christmas season as a sign to passersby that shelter and warmth could be found within. It was said that Martin Luther was the first person to put candles on the Christmas tree, as an inspiration during one of his walks on evening where he noticed stars twinkling through the tree limbs.

christmas cardsChristmas cards
It is thought that sending this cards originated in the mid-1800's when a few people began designing handmade cards to be sent to friends and families, although John Calcott Horsely is often credited as being the first Christmas card creator. Horsely presented his Christmas card, depicting a typical English family enjoying the holiday, to Sir Henry Cole in 1843. The card had "Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year to You" inscribed. A thousand copies of the card were then printed and sold for one shilling a piece.

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joanjoyce said...

Merry Christmas to you Zang :)

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