We all know about hanging wreaths on our front doors, but where did that tradition originate? And what does it symbolize? Since it’s Christmas in July here in the Midtown Mercantile Mall, let’s look into it.
Wreathes date back to ancient Greece and Rome, where members of the Greco-Roman society would make wreaths using tree leaves, twigs, small fruits and flowers. Laurel wreaths were used to crown victors of sporting events, a tradition still used today during the Olympic Games, where the medals are engraved with wreaths of laurel.
Meanwhile, in Europe, about 1,000 years before the birth of Christ, pagans celebrating the solstice made evergreen wreaths as a sign of perseverance through harsh winters and the hope of a coming spring. By the 16th century, Catholics and Protestants had adopted these pagan symbols to celebrate Advent, the season of waiting and preparation for the birth of Christ.
The bottom line – the wreath’s circular shape, with no beginning and no end, symbolizes an unending circle of life. Evergreen branches symbolize the life of the earth that never truly dies, in spite of the cold winter winds.
While it’s nice to know the history behind traditions most people today don’t even think about the symbolism. They just want that traditional wreath on their front door. And now, with the popularity of repurposing, some truly wonderful wreaths are being made out of vintage ornaments, lights, and decor.
Many of these old Christmas items can be found in the mall. Come on in and have a look around!
Carol Fenn 7-2017