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Does a Christmas wreath adorn the door to your home? Wreaths are a tradition that can be found all around the globe, throughout different periods in history and across different cultures. There’s more to wreaths than just Christmas that is for sure!
The History of Christmas Wreaths
Wreaths have a long history across many different cultures. Used in ceremonial events all over the world, they are commonly made from evergreen and laurel and are associated with strength and endurance. Historically, the laurel wreath draws its heritage from the Ancient Greek god Apollo. Zeus’s son, the god of life and light, was said to have fallen in love with Daphne who quickly fled his advances. In her quest to evade Apollo, she turned to the river god Peneus for help. In an effort to help, Peneus turned Daphne into a laurel tree. It is said that from that day, Apollo wore a wreath of laurel on his head. In ancient Greece and Rome, wreaths were used to distinguish a person of rank and status and were later used to crown athletes during Olympic Games.
Evergreen wreaths have a differing history, however. In Eastern Europe, people would light up evergreen wreaths throughout the cold winter evenings in hopes of speeding up the arrival of spring and the sunshine and warmth that accompanies it. In Christian tradition, wreaths are used throughout Advent – The four-week lead up to Christmas. Four candles sit within the wreath, with one candle lit on each of the Sundays in the four weeks leading up to Christmas. The look and arrangement of modern Christmas wreaths is deeply ingrained in Christian tradition. Loaded with symbolism, much consideration went into the creation of the traditional wreaths that adorn doors and gates today.
What do Christmas wreaths displays?
A dominant feature of wreaths is evergreen, a symbol of eternal life. Another common addition - prickly holly – has ties with the crown of thorns worn by Jesus on the cross. The circular shape of the wreath also aligns with the concept of unending life. Christmas wreaths can be found in all different colours, sizes and shapes and are adorned by any number of pretty attractions. Some decorate wreaths with boxwood, winter berries, pine cones, and nuts. Eucalyptus and eucalyptus pods are often commonly used for their fragrant scent. Some wreath makers use rose hips rings at the centre of the wreaths to attract birds.
Want to make your own wreath? Follow the steps in the video below and be on your way to a personalised antique wreath to hang on your door this Christmas!