Why Do We Put Pine Trees in Our Living Rooms?
It’s even believed by many that Martin Luther, the leader of the Protestant Reformation, was the first person to add lighted candles to a tree — a practice that would become commonplace in the following years. Regardless of how Christians in Germany may have celebrated the holidays, it wasn’t until the mid-19th century that Christmas trees became common in America. According to Puritan culture, any celebration of Christmas other than a solemn Christmas church service was sinful. Puritan influence even led to the creation of laws that banned or fined people for putting up Christmas decorations. However, a small minority of Pennsylvania Germans made Christmas trees a fixture of their celebrations. Then, when a massive influx of immigrants from Ireland and Germany came to the U.S. in the middle of the 19th century, their influence over holiday decorations undermined the Puritan’s legacy and ensured that Christmas trees were here to stay. Christmas tree decorations have changed throughout the years, from apples, nuts, and marzipan cookies in the German American tradition to the colored electric lights that dazzle living rooms and home exteriors across the country today. But one thing that probably won’t change is the Christmas tree’s continued relevance to the holiday season.
trees are such ubiquitous fixtures of a house decorated for the holidays, you might not ever question why so many people bring a tree from a lot or a nearby forest into their living room
every December. Well, even though they’re now firmly associated with Christmas, various cultures made pine trees central to winter solstice celebrations long before the birth of Christ.
Because pine trees stayed green throughout the year, unlike most other kinds of trees and plants, many ancient peoples associated them with all sorts of gods and magical properties. The Romans decorated their homes and temples with evergreen boughs during Saturnalia, a celebration on the winter solstice that honored Saturn, the god of agriculture. Ancient Celts in Northern Europe thought that evergreen boughs were a symbol of everlasting life. The Vikings saw the evergreen as a favored plant of their sun god, Balder.
It wasn’t until the 16th century that devout Christians in Germany began bringing evergreens into their homes as a celebration of the Christmas season.
If you’re cutting back on calories, skip the eggnog and buttered rum this year and fill up your mug with this delicious mulled cider! INGREDIENTS FESTIVE APPLE CIDER
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1 gallon pure apple cider
1 large orange, thinly sliced crosswise
2 tsp whole cloves 2 tsp allspice berries
1 inch fresh ginger, thinly sliced
2 tbsp honey
3 cinnamon sticks
1. Using a paring knife, shave the lemon peel off in curls. Reserve the curls and save the lemon for use in a different recipe. 2. In a large slow cooker, combine the lemon peel with all other ingredients. Cook on low for 3–4 hours.
3. If desired, use a sieve to strain the spices. Serve and enjoy!
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