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History Of The Modern Christmas Tree

Charlie Brown Christmas Tree - 18"The history of the modern Christmas tree goes back to 16th century Germany. In Alsace (Elsass) around Strasbourg there was a widespread practice of bringing trees (evergreens, not necessarily a fir-tree) into houses for decoration during Christmastide. This practice may well derive from pagan times. The evergreens were symbols of eternal life in ancient Egypt and China and in Europe trees were worshipped in many places - the ancient Finns used sacred groves instead of temples.

Prelit Colorado Fir Tree Clear Lights - 6'The modern custom is also connected with the Paradise tree hung with apples, present in the medieval religious plays. The decorations could symbolize the Christian Hosts, too (a gruesome reminder of the human sacrifices they used to hang from the branches of holy trees). Instead of trees, various wooden pyramidal structures were also used. In 17th century the Christmas tree spread through Germany and Scandinavia. Eventually the tree was extensively decorated, first with candles and candies, then with apples and confections, later with anything glittering mass-produced paraphernalia.

The success of Christmas tree in Protestant countries was enhanced by the legend which attributed the tradition to Martin Luther himself (in Catholic countries the custom was unknown up to this century). In England the tradition was popularized by the German Prince Albert, husband of Queen Victoria. The German immigrants brought the Christmas tree to America in 17th century. Public outdoors Christmas trees with electric candles were introduced in Finland in 1906, and in USA (New York) in 1912.

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