The Hymns and Carols of Christmas

Christmas Tree

Source: Brand's Popular Antiquities Of Great Britain

W. Carew Hazlitt, Faith and Folklore: A Dictionary of National Beliefs, Superstitions and Popular Customs, Past and Current, With Their Classical and Foreign Analogues, Described and Illustrated.

Forming A New Edition of "The Popular Antiquities of Great Britain" By Brand and Ellis, Largely Extended, Corrected, Brought Down To The Present Time, and Now First Alphabetically Arranged.

In Two Volumes

London: Reeves and Turner, 1905.

Vol. 1, p. 125

A very intelligent writer in Willisís "Current Notes" for February, 1854, observes: "The Christmas-tree has become a prevailing fashion in England at this season, and is by most persons supposed to be derived from Germany: such, however, is not the fact; the Christmas-tree is from Egypt, and its origin dates from a period long antecedent to the Christian era. The palm-tree is known to put forth a shoot every month, and a spray of this tree, with twelve shoots on it, was used in Egypt, at the time of the winter solstice, as a symbol of the year completed. Egyptian associations of a very early date still mingle with the tradition and custom of the Christmas-tree; there are as many pyramids, as trees used in Germany, in the celebration of Christmas by those whose means do not admit of their purchasing trees and the concomitant tapers. These pyramids consist of slight erections of slips of wood, arranged like a pyramidal epergne covered with green paper, and decorated with festoons of paper-chain work, which flutters in the wind, and constitutes, a make-believe foliage. This latter, however, is an innovation of modern days."

But the Christmas-tree, notwithstanding what has gone before, no doubt came to us from Germany directly, and is still a flourishing institution among us. It is usually an evergreen decorated with lights and also with presents for the guests, the latter depending, of course, on the means or generosity of the entertainer.

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