The history of Christmas traditions
This year has been a tough one, especially with how the country has been locked down over the christmas period, meaning that for many, they cannot spend this christmas with their family as is usually. Every family has something that they do as tradition every year that makes christmas special for each individual unit. This year, most of us are likely just trying to enjoy christmas to the fullest and have as much of a good time as possible. This year, I began to think about the christmas traditions that I will one day inherit from my family or create for my own family further down the line. So in the honour of christmas and its tradition, here is the history behind some of the worlds christmas traditions.
While most may consider spider webs to be more of a spooky halloween decoration, those in Ukraine and several other European countries actually see them as a symbol of good fortune to put upon their festive trees in the year’s final month. Though the spun webs are more than likely fake, that does not mean that they are no less symbolic. This tradition comes from a story of a poor widow and her daughters. In their excitement over a christmas tree, the daughters nurture and take care of a pinecone that had taken root.
Though the girls were looking forward to decorating their new found tree, their mother knew that they would not be able to afford ornaments to decorate the firn. The girls cried out at not being able to adorn the tree, though their mother could do nothing about. Their cries however did not go completely unheard. The spiders that lived within the house heard the young girls desperation and spent the night decorating the christmas tree with intricate webs. When morning came the young girls and their mother saw the webs that the spiders had woven for them. At the first touch of the sun’s light, the webbing turned into silver and golden decorations. It is said that the mother never wanted for anything again, turning the spider web into a symbol of wealth and fortune.
While spider webs in your tree already seem a bit like a gross health code violation, have you ever thought about using a preserved pickle as an ornament? Apparently you the Germans did. Not only does the pickle serve as a christmas tree decoration, it also sparks a fierce search for said that ends with the one finding it receiving a prize, whether that is predetermined or if it is the privilege of opening one of their gifts from Chris Cringle one night sooner. Though there is some evidence to say that although the ornaments that started this craze were shipped from Germany, it was actually the salesmen at woolworth who made up the tradition of the hunting for the pickle to sell more of their Christmas decorations to gullible customers. Although this tradition may have stemmed from greed and capitalism, it is still a fun little game to play with the family that seems to have intrigued many.
So while I know that this Christmas may have its limits as to how we interact with the ones we love and this year may be a year of loss, we are all connected by history and tradition and the wonders of modern technology.