Christmas wreaths a longstanding tradition

Throughout Christmas there are many wreaths that can be seen on doors of houses, businesses and buildings, each decorated in their own way.

  • Dec. 24, 2008 7:00 p.m.

Throughout Christmas there are many wreaths that can be seen on doors of houses, businesses and buildings, each decorated in their own way.

The wreath has become a Christmas icon throughout North America and beyond, but where did this tradition originate?

In the pre-Christian era it is believed that in Eastern Europe people used to light up wreaths made up of evergreen tree leaves in the winter. The belief was that doing this would help bring spring and sunshine early.

Although there is not an exact date when the Christmas wreath tradition began, there is the belief that it originated before Christianity itself.

Since its beginnings the Christmas wreath has gone through many changes but has managed to maintain its significance.

The tradition of hanging a wreath at Christmas is now known to be a Catholic ritual. It is done during the Christmas season, known as Advent. The traditional Advent Christmas wreath has four candles in the circle and one candle in the middle. The candles are either while or three of them are purple/violet and one is rose coloured.

The wreaths are made of evergreen leaves and is a circle, which means that there is no beginning or end and that God is eternal.

The candles are significant in themselves. Each day, there is one candle that is lit and the middle candle is lit on Christmas Eve especially. This is to symbolize the birth of Jesus Christ.

Although today the Christmas wreath has become more of a decorative item, the importance and meaning of the wreath remains significant.