Every year, we take a trip to the local tree farm to pick out the perfect Christmas tree often without any idea as to the history behind this popular family tradition. Here’s a little history to ponder as you make your way through the Christmas Forest at Dewberry Farm!
Evergreens were a big deal long before Christianity and Christmas. Ancient civilizations hung boughs over their doors and windows in an effort to ward off evil spirits and illness. People in the Northern hemisphere believed that the sun was a god that became sick during the winter solstice. Evergreens were placed throughout homes in anticipation for the god’s improved health and the return of summer. Romans celebrated the solstice with Saturnalia, a great feast in honor of the god of agriculture, Saturn. As a symbol of everlasting life, temples were decked out in evergreen boughs. Scandinavian Vikings used evergreen plants to pay tribute to their sun god, Balder.
We can thank Germany for today’s evergreen tradition of the Christmas tree. Germans that were devout Christians started the tradition of bringing trees into their homes in the 16th century. Trees were decorated with apples, nuts, and marzipan cookies. German settlers brought this practice to Pennsylvania when they immigrated to America. Believe it or not, Christmas trees were considered pagan symbols by most Americans in the 19th century. New England Puritans considered Christmas to be sacred and did not condone any type of frivolity such as decorated trees. In 1659, Massachusetts actually implemented a law that made any celebration of December 25 (other than church service) a penal offense. People could actually be fined if they hung up decorations or were caught showcasing any type celebration that desecrated what the Puritans insisted be a somber event. However, with the influx of German and Irish immigrants, Christmas became a more joyful occasion complete with decorated trees, carols, and celebrations.
Visit us here at Dewberry Farm this season and celebrate Christmas Texas style! Come cut a tree, stay for the fun, and Dew the lights!