Christmas wreaths

December 3, 2018

 

One of our traditions each year is decorating the front door with a wreath.  There are many thoughts on the origins of this tradition & the history of the wreath.

 

Wreath" comes from the Old English "writhan," meaning "to twist.  The meaning "ring or garland of flowers" is first recorded in 1560s. 

 

Persian Empire - wreaths were believed to be a symbol of importance as well as success. They were much smaller in size than the present ones and were known as 'diadems'. Only the royal and upper class members of the society used to wear the wreaths as headbands, sometimes along with jewels.

 

 

Ancient times in Greece & Rome hand-make ring-shaped “wreaths” were made using fresh tree leaves, twigs, small fruits & flowers. Worn as headdresses, these wreaths represented one’s occupation, rank, achievements and status. (The Laurel wreath was most commonly used then.) Laurel wreaths were used to crown victors of the ancient Greco-Roman Olympic Games.  How or why there was a transition from headgear to a wall/door decoration is not clear. It is believed that once an athlete decided to save the headgear as a souvenir. & so wreaths hung on doors are believed to have been signs of victory. 

 

 The pagan holiday of Yule, marking the winter solstice, which was celebrated by ancient Germanic and Scandinavian peoples. This 12-day festival, which was also called midwinter, was held to honour the returning of the sun and the seasonal cycle. The wreaths used during Yule were meant to symbolise nature and the promise of spring. 

 In the 16th century, the use of wreaths during Yule was adopted by Christians in the form of Advent wreaths. These wreaths were traditionally made of evergreens, which also symbolise eternal life, holly oak, and red berries. Today, still, the Christmas wreath is symbolic of immortality as the circle and sphere both represent immortality. The tradition of using evergreen branches as a material in wreaths is influenced by the Egyptian, Chinese and Hebrew cultures who believed that evergreen branches are a symbol of eternal life. With the passage of time, the custom of Christmas wreath became an important tradition widely followed by people from different parts of the world.

 

Daisy Hill Flowers make to order wreaths and Christmas table decorations.  Call or email to enquire or place an order.

 

 

Interesting reading:

https://www.santasquarters.com/origins-christmas-wreaths/

 

 

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