Party Pointer: History of Christmas Wreaths

Next to Christmas trees and lights, one of the most iconic traditional looks for the holidays is a greenery wreath. If you wondered  where this seasonal tradition began, check out the history of Christmas wreaths.

The circular shape is an easy one to use and create, so it’s natural to use it in wreath-making.

Ancient Persia  is where the earliest origins of wreaths adored the head, where the royalty wore diadems, fabric headbands adored with jewels.

Laurel leaves made into head garlands were used by the ancient Greeks as prizes during the Olympic Games. These headbands were probably hung on the walls for all to see, becoming wall decorations.

A legend that predates the birth of Christ holds that Germans gathered evergreen wreaths and build fires as signs of coming spring and renewed light.

The Christians trace wreaths to Christ’s crown of thorns. The belief is that the thorns were actually holly leaves with white berries, and that Jesus’ blood turned the berries red.

The tradition of the Christmas wreath in America was brought from Europe by early colonists. The abundance of Christmas wreath  materials were available–pine, spruce, and cedar, for example, decorated with boxwood, cedar blue berries and cones. Other wreaths used corn husks, dried grasses, bittersweet pods, moss and fruits.

An American Christmas wreath custom began in Colonial Williamsburg, where evergreen wreaths and garlands are still decorated with natural items, fruits and vegetables. In Williamsburg, wreaths are often decorated with animal antlers, feathers, pods, pinecones, sea shells, cotton bolls, cinnamon sticks, berries, cookies, popcorn, cranberry garlands, raffia, and other intriguing items.

The traditional front-door wreath remains a symbol of friendship and hospitality. Wreaths can be made from a wide variety of materials–straw, metal,faux greenery, ribbons, fabric, and more.  Although wreaths are most closely associated with Christmas, they are now used in home décor throughout the years.

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