The Tradition Of The Christmas Tree Essay

The Tradition Of The Christmas Tree Essay

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The tradition of celebrating Christmas with a decorated tree began long ago in pagan cultures in order to honor their gods (All About the Christmas Tree) and in some cases to worship the tree itself, but the purpose of the evergreen in festivities today is not rooted in paganism. People all over the world take part in Christmas celebrations (Christmas Around the World) and love to set up and decorate evergreen trees purely for aesthetic and reminiscent reasons. The majority of celebrants give no thought to the pagan roots or the original purpose of the symbol.
The date of Christmas is believed to have been proclaimed as December 25th as early as the fourth century by Pope Julius I, but the tradition of the Christmas tree is a much newer practice (Christmas), the exact date of which is unknown. The possibilities range from the sixth century to the sixteenth century.
Merging pagan traditions with Christian practices is not uncommon. In some cases, such merging resulted in modern holidays such as Halloween, Easter, Valentine’s Day, April Fool’s Day, and, as noted earlier, Christmas. By the Middle Ages (350 – 1440 A.D.) (Middle Ages Timeline), many of the Christmas practices had been merged. During this holiday, previously known by the pagans as Twelfth Night and by Christians as Christ’s Mass, one of the most notable traditions was wassailing – ‘songs wishing for a successful coming year’ (Festivals and Holidays), a practice from which the Christmas tree may have been derived. Wassailings would sing songs around a tree, wishing it an abundant yield, reflecting the past pagan rituals for fertility. Once finished, the wassailings would give a toast to the tree and pour cider around the roots.
Another tradition derived from pagan ferti...


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...adition cannot be changed, but the reason for continuing the practice is always adaptable. Bringing an evergreen tree into a home and decorating it for aesthetic and reminiscent reasons is hardly worshiping the spirit of a dying plant or honoring a pagan god. Jeremiah may have condemned the worship of a tree nailed in place, but those who follow the Christmas tradition of setting up a tree in their home are not doing so with the intent to worship the evergreen. The original reasons of a tradition cannot rationally be disputed. The current purpose of the tradition can be changed at the will of the user. So, even while the roots of the Christmas tree may be tainted with the bad soil of pagan rituals, the fruit of family traditions and fun can be perfectly innocuous and even beneficial as a means of establishing intimacy and lovely memories that will last for lifetimes.

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