History and curiosities of the Christmas Wreaths

Ghirlanda Natalizia con bacche per porta

The garlands represent one of the main symbols of Christmas, a must on the doors of anyone who loves this traditional celebration. Although we have always tended to associate these floral compositions with the Nativity of Jesus and the Catholic tradition, in reality this has not always been the case. The term "garland" can be translated as "writhan", a word that in archaic English means "turn", just to symbolize the various uses that this simple object has taken over the years.

The first evidence relating to the use of wreaths dates back to before the birth of Christ, as they were used in different ways by some of the most important civilizations of the past: Persians, ancient Greeks and ancient Egyptians.

In the Persian Empire, crowns were linked to a strong meaning of power and were worn as tiaras as a testament to the authority exercised by royalty.

Very similar was the use made by the ancient Egyptians, who used to surround their heads with a particular crown of flowers called the chaplet.

More well known, however, is the use made of it in Greece and, even more, in Rome. In these two very important civilizations, laurel wreaths were worn by emperors and, sometimes, awarded to warriors with a sign of gratitude by virtue of the value shown. It was precisely in Ancient Rome that the custom of hanging these floral compositions outside the door definitely took hold.

The Romans, in fact, were the first to initiate this tradition, but with a very different meaning from today, as these floral ornaments were nothing more than a sign of victory at the end of a battle.

So how did we come to attribute the sacred value that today characterizes the wreaths? Why are wreaths one of the most important symbols of Christmas? Where does this ancient tradition come from?

Subsequently, exhaustive answers to the aforementioned questions will be provided and, later, the reasons why the Christmas wreath has become a true icon of Christianity will be analyzed.

Garland and Christmas: how this ancient tradition was born

As briefly mentioned above and as is well known, the most widespread use of floral wreaths is inextricably linked to Christmas and the days preceding this important holiday. The reason is easily found in the circular shape, according to Christian traditions, a symbol of eternal life and God's love.

Although the flower crowns are characterized by an ancient history and traditions, it was only during the sixteenth century that they took on their current meaning. Just like those of today, the Christmas wreaths of yore were composed of evergreen trees, trees that symbolize the eternity of life, of hollies and red berries, both symbols of the crown of thorns worn by Jesus during the his crucifixion.

To date, the classic Christmas wreaths also contain four different candles, one for each Advent week.

From history to legend

While the story is a source to rely on, the magical significance of Christmas wreaths is most likely due to the extraordinary legend to which they are linked. This is set in Germany and tells the story of a mother, who every year, on Christmas Eve, used to tidy up the house to celebrate this very important celebration in the best possible way.

All the little spiders who lived in her house, afraid of being killed, took refuge inside the attic. Once the house was completely clean, they came out of their hiding place and went down the stairs to reach the living room. As soon as they arrived in the living room, the spiders found themselves in front of a majestic Christmas tree, so beautiful that it made their desire to climb on it irrepressible and cover its entire surface with cobwebs.

At midnight, when Santa Claus entered the house by entering the fireplace to deliver the gifts, the latter noticed how the tree was totally covered with threads and dust. At first he laughed, cheered by the enthusiasm of the spiders, but later, thanks to the magic of Christmas, transformed these cobwebs into beautiful golden garlands, thus starting the ancient tradition that sees this crown put on. of flowers outside your door throughout the Christmas season.

Although the one just told represents the main legend linked to the use of flower garlands during the month of December, there is another story, certainly less known, but just as interesting.

This has as its main protagonist a woman of humble origins, whose only possession was a bare spruce and completely covered in cobwebs. When Jesus came to his village to bless the trees of all the inhabitants, realizing and regretting the situation, he transformed the cobwebs into splendid Christmas wreaths, transforming the tree into the most beautiful in the country.

New York: the world capital of Christmas wreaths

Although the Christmas Wreaths represent a Christmas symbol used in all countries of Catholic religion and, consequently, in most areas of the world, there is a city in which these play a very special role: New York.

During the period before Christmas, the Big Apple becomes every child's dream, the symbolic place of Christmas decorations. It is precisely here that in the area known as Union Square Greenmarket, the city's great source of festive evergreen, thousands of families come willing to buy, or even just look at, handmade Christmas wreaths of hardly describable beauty.

This Christmas themed market, made up of stands of various kinds, offers the opportunity to buy wreaths made using different trees and plants: Van Houten Farms is, in all probability, the main point of reference for fir lovers.

Stokes instead revolutionized the simple concept of wreaths by opting for the use of aromatic herbs capable of making these floral ornaments something more than a simple decoration, while River Garden has conquered a wide range of audiences by specializing in the creation of composite wreaths mainly from dried flowers. However, Mountain Sweet Berry is the stand that more than any other catches the attention of children and adults.

These artisans have distinguished themselves for their creative use of princess pine, not an evergreen tree but a perennial plant whose appearance can be compared to that of a fern. The achievements of this stand take on even more value by virtue of the complex procedure that characterizes their construction. These, in fact, are produced through the use of a special machine, the use of which allows the artisans employed at the company to be able to proceed more easily to the weaving of the leaves and, consequently, to the realization of the wreath.

Small in size and extremely light, these floral compositions are literally depopulating on all the doors of Manhattan and beyond, as now Strolling through Fifth Avenue, Times Square or the Upper East Side it will therefore be possible to easily come across hundreds of Mountain Sweet Berry garlands, now universally recognized as a symbol of happiness, sharing and the typical joy of New York Christmas.

What are the main types of Christmas wreaths

The universal meaning of a holiday like Christmas, the opening of the latter towards other religions and, of course, the imagination of each of us has helped to create different types of Christmas wreaths. Whether you decide to buy the classic green wreath with red berries, whether you opt for a do-it-yourself solution, anyone has the opportunity to decorate the Christmas wreath according to their tastes and, above all, by using plants of various kinds.

In addition to the classic fir, evergreen par excellence, there are many people who love to decorate this small Christmas decoration using cinnamon and dried fruit, wild flowers or puppets depicting some of the main symbols of this tradition , such as reindeer, angels, Santa Claus and the comet.

Leaving your imagination free and creating personalized Christmas wreaths will allow you to decorate your front door or fireplace in an even more original way, thus helping to create an environment characterized by the typical magic of Christmas.

Now that you know every detail about this ancient Christmas tradition, you just have to choose the most suitable garland for your home in view of next December 25th, the choices are really many!