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except for right now.


The Coronavirus pandemic means all social activities are postponed for now.  That looks like it will be a lot further in the future than any of us would like, but we have to keep each other safe.  Use this time to plan for the future, think of new events, new ways of celebrating life in our community, because, boy, we will really need to see you all out and about again as soon as we can!  Take care.

St Margaret’s & District Gardeners’ Association

The History of the Christmas Wreath
         

I expect a lot of us, when asked ‘from where did the first Christmas Tree come?’ would know the most popular answer is – it was introduced by Prince Albert in the mid 19th century. It is a regular pub quiz question. But how many of us know much about the traditional Christmas Wreath.

 

The origin of the wreath dates back to the times of the Persian Empire. The word wreath is taken from the old English word ‘writhen’ meaning to twist. Wreaths were believed to be a symbol of importance and wealth, they were much smaller than those we see today and were known as ‘diadems’.

 

To begin with they were used almost as a fashion statement, being worn as headbands and often adorned with jewels. Somewhere around 776 BC the Greeks started to place wreaths made of laurel on the heads of the athletes who came first in the Olympic Games. It is thought likely that these precious items were hung on the wall after they had been worn. Likewise those given at weddings and other special occasions. The wreath represented honour and joy. Very soon important military and political leaders of the Roman Empire started wearing wreaths. One example being that of Julius Ceasar who wore one much like a crown.  

 

The transition of the wreath from a headgear to a wall/door decoration is not known with much accuracy. It is thought that they were used as Christmas Tree decorations, their circular shape made them easy to hang on the branches of trees. The shape was also thought to represent divine perfection, symbolizing eternity , as the shape has no end. Here we mainly associate the wreath with Christmas but that doesn’t mean you have to stick with tradition. You can buy wreaths made of colourful Christmas baubles or adorned with berries and fruits. To make your own you can buy circular bases, already incorporating oasis or make your own base using twisted branches and moss formed into a circle with wire. Then fill the circle with whatever foliage you have available, cut into short pieces and pushed into the oasis or the moss, secured with wire wrapped around the base as you go. To finish you can add baubles, pine cones, orange segments and selections of berries. Finish off with a cheerful bow at the base. To keep your greenery looking fresh, spritz daily with water.

 

There is another wreath used widely at Christmas – the Advent Wreath. During the Middle Ages the Christians adapted a tradition that had been used by both Germanic and Scandinavian peoples during the winter months. The symbolism of the Advent wreath is very strong. The wreath is made up entirely of various evergreens, signifying continuous life. Even though these evergreens have traditional meanings, laurel signifies victory over persecution and suffering; pine, holly and yew, immortality and Holly to remind us of the Crown of Thorns. Four candles represent the four weeks of Advent, three candles are purple representing the Christian values of hope, peace and love and one is rose or red symbolizing the joy of new life gained through the gift of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross. Sometimes a white candle is lit on Christmas Eve to welcome Jesus’s birth.

 

May we take this opportunity to wish all our members and supporters the very best for Christmas and the New Year 2021

 

STMADGA

Email: stmadga@gmail.com

FB: St-Margaret’s-District-Gardeners-Association