The Christmas tree has certainly come a long way from its humble beginnings in Northern Europe around one millennium ago, writes Euronews on December 20, 2016.
Each year communities the world over seem to be getting funkier with their firs. These days many are only loosely based on trees at all.
Like many other Christian customs, the concept of the Christmas tree is a hybrid of several ancient traditions and rituals.
Pagan peoples of northern Europe used the branches of evergreens during the winter solstice to remind them of the coming spring; the Romans decorated temples with fir trees for the festival of saturnalia and Christians used the evergreen pines to symbolize eternal life with God.
Where and when was the first Xmas tree?
Believe it or not, this is a hotly contested title which has caused a tree tug-of-war between Tallinn in Estonia and Riga in Latvia. Tallinn claimed to have erected a tree in 1441 and Riga in 1510.
Little is known about either tree apart from that they were put in the town square, danced around by the unfortunately named ‘Brotherhood of Blackheads’ (Mustpeade Vennaskond) and then set on fire.
A myth from Germany claims the first person to have an indoor Christmas Tree may have been the 16th century German preacher and father of protestantism Martin Luther. Four hundred-year-old reports are of course difficult to confirm.
VES / www.euronews.com/2016/12/20/xmas-tree-masterpieces-of-2016
Euronews also compiled the list of 2016 most unusual christmas trees – an Estonian, Rakvere-made kinetic tree also made the list. This is the second year in a row that Rakvere’s christmas tree gets international recognition.