How it All Started…..
The old pagan custom of bringing a living tree indoors in the middle of the dark months of the year and decorating it with candles and trinkets was introduced to Britain by Prince Albert, the husband of Queen Victoria. The idea rapidly caught on. Bringing evergreen vegetation in the form of trees, boughs, and branches from the outside to the inside was a magical ritual, a piece of sympathetic magic, meant to encourage the return of spring and the growing season.
The timing of the entrance and exit of the tree was critical. Any time before Christmas Eve was too soon for the tree to come inside, and all decorations had to be taken down and the tree removed by Twelfth Night, January 6. This tradition, however, does not seem to signify for the department stores who start to display artificial Christmas trees from September onwards.
The Christmas tree is traditionally an evergreen tree, usually a spruce or a fir, which is cut down from the forest. The tree itself symbolizes immortality and everlasting life, and the lights draped on it are a reminder that during the darkest time of the year, lighter days are just around the corner. The Yule Celebrations in northern Europe were echoed in similar rituals in southern Europe. The Roman God Atys or Attis was a savior God whose life stary very much parallels that of Christ. Atys was born on December 25 to a virgin mother and was sacrificed to save mankind, killed beneath a conifer, remaining for three days and nights in his tomb before resurrection. His priests, called “dendrophori” (meaning “tree bearers”), were charged with selecting conifers from a sacred grove that would be brought indoors in memory of the death and resurrection of Atys, who is also linked with Apollo, the Sun God.
When to Take the Tree Down
I have been looking for the right answer to this question. I have always heard that If you take your Christmas tree down before Jan 1st. You will have bad luck for the rest of the year. My sister who lives in another state has always heard that if you leave your tree and any of your Christmas decoration up till the first you would have bad luck. She takes everything down before Jan 1st. I take them all down after the first of the year. Which of one of these superstitions would be correct. Or if you have any input please let me know. Thank you, Tracey
The actual belief is that all trees should remain up through 12th night. That is the 5th of January -in fact do not take the tree down until the 6th. There is no bad luck attached at all – I have friends that do it all ways and their luck doesn’t vary. Not to worry take it down any time you want.
While Christmas for me and my family has always been a time to pull out the old decorations – and to celebrate the old traditions and family rituals, it has never been associated with any particular superstitions…. so I was very surprised to find that there are a LOT of funny beliefs, many contradictory, around this festival. Here’s what we found…
From the book : The Element Encyclopedia of Secret Signs and Symbols by Adele Nozedar