Sunday, December 9, 2018

Why Red and Green for Christmas?

For no good reason yesterday, a tiny (Christmas) light went off in my brain and I asked myself so why red and green?  Whose decision was this?  And, if known who, why?

It wasn't anyone we know.  These colors come to us from the Middle Ages, from the Romans who traded holly branches in January for good luck in the coming year and the Egyptians who did the same.

In the Middle Ages, very few people could read.  Thus the church held a yearly holiday to celebrate the birth of Christ and the learned one would read it to all of the other parishioners.  There were no apples on the trees in Europe in the dead of winter, so a branch of a pine tree with presumably home made "apples" tied to it, doubled as the tree to represent Adam and Eve.  No word as to whether or not a snake was used to give full historical gravity.

They were serious about their religion back in those days - but think of it - few could read - so there was no necessity for printing a lot of books.  There was little entertainment other than the occasional torture and banishment of someone in the village … so going to church was a great chance to see others, gossip, court and in general, get crazy.  Crazy for those days which were as we see quite limited.

The red color of the holly berries was meant to be Jesus blood - their sharp, pointy leaves made up Jesus crown of thorns.  That color - red - was later adopted by the Catholic Bishops' robes.

Green came from the holly, ivy and pine - evergreens.

So, one thought logically leading to another (somewhere, not in this house) why blue and white for Chanukah and red/green/black/yellow for Kwanza?  Tune in tomorrow.  The Google Hound is ON IT.

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