Monday, December 10, 2007

Christmas Symbols

Christmas is the most celebrated festival worldwide. Aside from the traditions, festivals, customs, and rituals of Christmas there are many interesting symbols associated with Christmas that had been and will always be part of the Christmas celebration.

MISTLETOE is an evergreen plant that is parasitic upon other trees and used to decorate homes. It is believed the plant had special healing powers for everything from female infertility to poison ingestion. Scandinavians also thought of mistletoe as a plant of peace and harmony. They associated mistletoe with their goddess of love, Frigga. The custom of kissing under the mistletoe probably derived from this belief.

POINSETTIAS, a flower was brought to the U.S. by Dr, J.R. Poinsett in 1825. He was the first first United States ambassador to Mexico. Because of its flame leaf, the poinsettia is sometimes called the Christmas Star. A Mexican legend explains how this flower got associated with Christmas.

CHRISTMAS TREE originated in Germany in the 16th century. It was common for the Germanic people to decorate fir trees, both inside and out, with roses, apples, and colored paper. It is believed that Martin Luther, the Protestant reformer, was the first to light a Christmas tree with candles.

CANDY CANE, used during the holidays, stands as an important Christmas symbol. The color white symbolizes the purity and sinless nature of Jesus. Next, three small stripes to symbolize pain inflicted upon Jesus before his death on the cross and a bold stripe to represent the blood he shed for mankind. Two other symbols are distinctive on the Candy Cane. When looked at, it looks like a Shepard's staff because Jesus is the Shepard of man. Then if we turn it upside down, we will notice the shape of the letter J symbolizing the first letter in Jesus' name. These five symbols were incorporated into this piece of peppermint stick so that we would remember what we really celebrate the Christmas season.

CHURCH BELLS rang to announce the birth of Jesus.

CHRISTMAS STAR has traditionally been associated with the spirit of the celebration and the significance of the star can be found in the story related to the birth of Jesus Christ. The Christmas star symbolizes high hopes and high ideals.

CHRISTMAS STOCKING, children all over the world continues the tradition of hanging Christmas stockings. Originally, children simply used one of their everyday socks, but eventually special Christmas stockings were created for this purpose.

CANDLES represent the light that Jesus brought to earth. Pagans who converted to Christianity used candles on the sacred evergreen tree.

CHRISTMAS CARDS, for many years, private notes of good tidings were sent at Christmas time. In 1843, Sir Henry Cole had 1000 special designed cards printed. The custom of sending Christmas cards began.

CHRISTMAS TREE LIGHTS, The lights represent Christ as being the "Light of the World." Lights also represent stars. Candles were first used as lights on the Christmas tree.

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