Spruce trees and Christmas seem to go hand in hand. Every year near the start of December, families across Scotland cut down and erect these trees in their living rooms and decorate them.
So? What’s you point? You might ask. Well, have you ever thought that cutting down a tree, dragging it into your living room and covering it with plastic brightly coloured baubles and tinsel is a bit weird?
It certainly is an odd tradition and one that can trace its roots back through time to Germany. Although there are several very different versions of how we came to adopt this age-old tradition of worshipping dying trees and piling presents under them one fact about their origin is undisputed and that is the country which first introduced the universally recognised symbol of Christmas.
It will surprise many to learn that it was thanks to the Royal Family that the tradition became so popular in Scotland and the rest of the UK.
Queen Victoria’s husband, Prince Albert bought over the tradition from his homeland of Germany in the nineteenth century. And of course, if the royals were doing it, everyone else had to join in too and it was not long before the humble Christmas tree became an annual yuletide tradition in every household.
The royals may have been responsible for boosting the popularity of Christmas trees, but the origin of where the Germans got the idea from is steeped in folklore.
Legend has it that a man by the name of Martin Luther, a Christian, was the founder of the tradition.
The tale goes that he was walking home through the woods shortly before Christmas and on his way he peered up to see the moonlight poking through the trees and shining off the needles.
Impressed, Martin cut down the tree and took it home where he decorated it with candles to replicate the effect. His friends and family were so impressed by the idea that they did the same the following year.
Decorations were overtime introduced to brighten the trees further will people originally decorating them with fruits and berries. Over the years these fruits were replaced with other decorations until at last the modern day plastic bauble and silver and gold tinsel took over.
While this tale is one of many that has never been proven in its entirety, many others take on a similar vein of the world’s introduction to the humble Christmas tree.
And one more fact, Christmas Day was not always on the 25th of December. More than 250 years ago it was celebrated on the 5th of January.