Christmas is a great time of year for celebration and quality time with family and friends.
Everyone celebrates slightly differently; families have their own traditions, routines and opinions on what should or should not be included in the Christmas dinner! There are, however, a few traditions that most of us share and incorporate into the big day..
These traditions originate from all around the world, with some magical, nature inspired symbolism behind them!
So what were their origins and why where they so important?
Here's what we found out:
Believed to have magical properties and symbolised fertility. Druids would gift it as a blessing.
In ancient Norse tradition, Mistletoe was the sacred plant of Frigga, the Goddess of Love.
The modern use of it probably came from the Romans, who believed those who kissed under the Mistletoe would be united by an eternal love.
Knowing that, maybe we should be careful who we choose to have a cheeky kiss under the mistletoe with!
Being evergreen (which means it's leaves stay green all year round), Holly represents everlasting life, even in the darkest depths of winter.
It’s spiky leaves were meant to repel unwanted spirits and bring good luck which is why we ‘deck the halls’ with it!
In Druid lore, cutting down a Holly tree would bring back luck.
The Yule Tree
Evergreen trees were cherished as a symbol of rebirth, life and the knowledge that the light would return after winter.
Families would bring a live tree into the home so the wood spirits would have a place to keep warm in the cold winter months - food and treats were hung on the branches for the spirits to eat.
The ancient Egyptians didn't have evergreen trees, but they had palms — and the palm tree was the symbol of resurrection and rebirth!
Began as the tradition of wassailing. In centuries past, wassailers went from door to door, singing and drinking to the health of their neighbours.
The word Carol actually means dance or a song of praise and joy!
The Yule Log
Originates in the cold winters of Norway, on the night of the winter solstice, where it was common to hoist a giant log onto the hearth to celebrate the return of the sun each year.
This way of celebrating spread all over Europe; in France, it is traditional that the whole family helps to cut the log down and that a little bit is burnt each night over the 12 nights of Christmas.
This tradition is now generally represented as a yummy chocolate Yule log!
The Celts thought that the sun stood still for twelve days in the middle of winter and during this time a log was lit to conquer the darkness, banish evil spirits and bring luck for the coming year.
We love that many of these Christmas traditions are nature inspired & come from all over the world! After learning the meanings of these elements that are so ingrained into Christmas, I will be smiling at all the things traditionally thought to protect us, and the fact I now have central heating so can eat my yule log instead of burning it!
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