Why do we put up Christmas Trees?

The custom of putting up a decorated fir tree in your home at Christmas began in Germany in the 17th century.

Royal connections to Christmas trees

Prince Albert made Christmas trees popular in Britain, when he introduced them to England from Germany. The Prince wrote in 1847 that his children should “delight in the Christmas tree”. He also sought to make it a tradition in Britain and presented many trees to schools ands army barracks.

Celebrated across Europe

Between 100-150 million families in Europe put up a real Christmas tree in their home.

Pagan Roots of Christmas trees

The evergreen fir tree has traditionally been used to celebrate winter festivals (pagan and Christian) for thousands of years. Pagans used branches of it to decorate their homes during the winter solstice, as it made them think of the spring to come.

The first documented use of a tree at Christmas

The first documented use of a tree at Christmas and New Year celebrations is in town square of Riga, the capital of Latvia, in the year 1510. In the square there is a plaque which is engraved with "The First New Years Tree in Riga in 1510", in eight languages. The tree might have been a 'Paradise Tree' rather than a 'real' tree. Not much is known about the tree, apart from that it was attended by men wearing black hats, and that after a ceremony they burnt the tree.

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