What you do not know about the Christmas tree
Christmas tree is made from a branch of pine, spruce or fir tree. Christmas tree is used to beautify homes and churches by Christians during Christmas celebrations.
The use of Christmas tree dates back to pagan practices before the advent of Christianity. It was seen as a symbol of hope, life and new beginnings. It is said to have been practiced by the Europeans, Romans and the early Christian Germans.
Pagan Europeans used it to decorate their homes and brighten their spirit during the winter solstice. The Romans used it to beautify their temples during Sarturnalia festival. It was to celebrate new life and light in the winter darkness.
The Germans used the fir tree to decorate their homes on the 24th of December. Which is the eve of Christmas. The practice started in Germany in the 16th century. They hung the Eucharist on it representing the presence of God in the house. And candles around it to signify Jesus as the light of the world. As the Germans traveled, so did the tradition. Even in the United States, Americans considered it as foreign until mid 19th century.
Queen Victoria of Britain is said to be one of the major persons that popularized the use of Christmas trees. Her mother was a German. So, she grew up with the tradition. The trees were used by her to decorate her palace. Soon, every British had their homes decorated with Christmas trees.
How the tradition of Christmas tree survived the advent of Christianity has many uncertain theories attached to it. But the most told is:
The theory of the Benedictine Monk Boniface
History has it that the monk was passing and saw some pegan Germans making sacrifices in front of an oak tree. An oak tree was considered to be sacred to the god Thor. He took his axe and fell the tree. Waiting for thunder to strike him but nothing happened, the Germans were converted.
It was also said that, later a fir tree grew from the dead tree. Being triangular in shape, was believed to symbolize the presence of the trinity. Hence, the tree was considered to mean the presence of Christ.
Modern Christmas trees
Today, Christmas trees can either be natural trees or artificial ones. The artificial one enables you to have it as long as you want without any worry of decay. It has become a practice embraced by many either as Christians or just for Christmas celebration. They are used today to decorate churches, malls, walkways, etc. its decoration today is with ornaments, Christmas balls, stars and gifts at the bottom. They are often used to act plays relating to the birth of Jesus.
In Nigeria, not so many use it to decorate their homes. But it is used to decorate malls and churches. Different states like Lagos and Portharcourt, have also adopted it as a culture to make a giant Christmas tree. Usually at the state central and adorned with various lights.
You might also be interested in Christmas Celebration in Nigeria.