The evergreen fir tree was once held in high regard, as a symbol of fertility, by many ancient cultures such as the Egyptians and the Romans. However, it is the Christmas holiday season that the fir tree has become most associated with. There cannot be many folks, who do not recognize the image of a Christmas tree. Moreover, how many little children do not look forward to seeing all those presents under the Christmas tree when The 25th of December rolls around. So how did the humble fir tree transcend from a fertility symbol to a sign if happiness and joy that it is today. Read on for a brief history of the Christmas tree tradition.
The story goes that back in the eighth century, St. Boniface was walking in the woods in Germany when he came upon a shocking sight. There were countless pagans in the woods who were worshiping the oak trees of the forest, which were considered an ancient symbol of fertility. Enraged by what he had seen, St. Boniface had all of the oak trees chopped down so that the sacrilege would not be repeated the following night. As if by some miracle, after the oak trees had been felled, evergreen trees grew in their place and this is the tale of how the Christmas tree originated.
The trees soon became popular in Europe and in particular, Germany, where they remained a staple of the holiday season from the middle ages through the Age of Enlightenment and into the modern era. By way of European immigrants, who took the tradition of the Christmas tree with them, the tree eventually made its way to America in the 18th century, where it quickly became integrated into American culture as well.
For many years, the trees were simply decorated where they stood, but eventually somebody had the novel idea of digging the tree up and bringing it indoors. Since it is impossible to grow a Christmas tree inside a home, it was not long before the humble fir tree spawned commercial enterprises where creative individuals started harvesting the trees and selling them to those wishing to have such a tree during the holiday season. And so, the Christmas tree tradition as we know it today, continues to thrive after more than two hundred years.