Thursday, December 18, 2014

Top 10 Holiday Symbols and their Meanings

Top 10 Holiday Symbols and their Meanings

The Candy Cane according to 4 references in Wikipedia originated in Germany, when a choirmaster at the Cologne Cathedral in Germany wished to quiet the children during the Living Creche service asked a local candy maker to design sweet stick to hand out to the children.  To tie the meaning into the service he asked that a hook be added at the top to remember the shepherds that paid a visit to the baby Jesus.

Cologne Cathedral
 The Wise Men Melchior (Persian), Caspar (Indian) ,and Balthasar (Arabian) all were scholars.The Shrine of the Three Kings at Cologne Cathedral, according to legend, contains the bones of the Three Wise Men. The gifts were gold, frankincense and myrrh.

The Christmas Tree tradition also seems to be referenced in Wikipedia to have begun in Germany. Tradition also states that trees should not be decorated until Christmas eve, a tradition always held in my home growing up, so it is Irish too. I have read, the evergreen tree referenced as eternal life.

Love Park, Philadelphia, PA 203

An angel on top of the Christmas tree signifies the Angel Gabriel and his message to Mary and the angels message to the shepherds that Jesus was born.

The ceremony of the lighting of the tree at St. Pete's Square will take place on 19 December at 4.30 p.m. The tree is from Passo dell'Abbate, in the Italian province of Fabrizia, Calabria. The tree has a double trunk. Pope Francis celebrated his 78th birthday on December 17th.

The Nativity scene, "creche", "manger" is first credited to St. Francis Assisi. He created the first one in 1223 in Greccio, Italy. The Nativity scene at St.Peter's Square this year is Entitled “Il Presepe in Opera” (“The Nativity Scene in Opera”) and composed of around 25 life-size terracotta statues, it is a gift from the “Verona for the Arena” Foundation and will be inspired by the operatic works for which the city is famed, with the intention of promoting Italian opera throughout the world.

The Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi photo courtesy of Lauren Fiebert

The earliest documented case of kissing under the mistletoe dates from 16th century England, a custom that was apparently very popular at that time, according to wikipedia.

The Poinsettia  plant's association with Christmas began in 16th-century Mexico,"according to Wikipedia", where legend tells of a girl, commonly called Pepita or Maria, who was too poor to provide a gift for the celebration of Jesus' birthday and was inspired by an angel to gather weeds from the roadside and place them in front of the church altar. Crimson blossoms sprouted from the weeds and became beautiful poinsettias. The star-shaped leaf pattern is said to symbolize the Star of Bethlehem, and the red color represents the blood sacrifice through the crucifixion of Jesus.

The Christmas Star also known as the Star of Bethlehem was a bright light in the sky said to have lead travelers to the place where Jesus was born.

A  holly wreath with its prickly edges is said to represent the crown of thorns placed upon Jesus Christ's head during crucifixion and the red berries signify drops of blood. The Crown of Thorns of Jesus Christ were bought by Louis IX from a Venetian at acquired them from Latin Emperor Baldwin of Constantinople according to the church website.  It is preserved today at Notre Dame de Paris.

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