Christmas Around The World
Christmas is one of the most celebrated holiday’s around the world. It is a combination of both materialistic and religious traditions. It has taken many Christmas traditions, originating from various parts of the globe, to create the holiday as we celebrate it today.
The ancient people of Norway believed that a wheel of fire (the sun) rolled towards, and then away from the earth, changing the seasons. The yule log originated in Norway, as a celebration of the return of the sun at winter solstice. That is why the fireplace is such a central part of the Christmas holiday today.
The tradition of decorating evergreen trees was created in Germany. The first “Christmas Trees” decorated and named for the Christian holiday appeared in Strasbourg, Alsace at the beginning of the 17th century. In 1771, Wolfgang von Goethe visited Strasbourg and after noticing this tradition, he included a Christmas tree in his novel, The Suffering of Young Werther. In the 1820s, the tradition was finally brought to the United States by the first German immigrants who began to decorate Christmas trees in Pennsylvania.
In 1828, Joel R. Poinsett brought the traditional vibrant red and green poinsettia plant to America from Mexico. By 1870, stores in New York began to sell them during Christmas, helping to create this plant as a common symbol for the holiday.
Christmas greeting cards were created around the late 1830s. John Calcott Horsley popularized this tradition with the help of newly efficient post offices. While cards were becoming popular in England, this sensation reached the states because of Louis Prang, a German immigrant who came to New York in 1850 and became America’s first card maker.
Each country has contributed their own traditions which makes Christmas not only a universal holiday but also one that has brought vast amount of people together. So whether you celebrate Christmas around the fireplace or annually send greeting cards, keep in mind that this is a holiday that unifies the world in many ways.
“Christmas Traditions Worldwide.” History.com. A&E Networks, 2009. Web. 1 Dec. 2015. <http://www.history.com/topics/christmas/christmas-traditions-worldwide>.