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Saturday, 12 April 2014

Christmas Tree

THE HISTORY OF THE CHRISTMAS TREE

While preaching to some German druids Saint Boniface (675-754) laid his axe to a tree which they worshipped to prove that God’s power is superior to their god, Thor's. The fallen oak crushed every shrub in its path apart from a small fir sapling. From then on the fir came to represent life and later it became the Christmas tree.

Our more modern Christmas tree seems to have started in sixteenth century Germany. In the sixteenth century, city merchants carried a fir tree decorated with paper flowers through the streets on Christmas Eve.

Martin Luther is supposed to have cut the first Christmas tree. The story may be apocryphal, but we know that one snowy winter evening, he was in a jolly mood, singing and talking about the incarnation. He looked up and on seeing the stars twinkling through the branches of the evergreen trees he sighed, "Oh, we poor men, that we should be so cold and indifferent to this great joy which has been given us."Wishing to describe this inspiring spectacle to his wife and children Luther dug up a small fir tree and put it in the nursery. He then decorated its branches with lighted candles. just as the starlit trees outside had appeared to him that cold, winter night.

Fir trees decorated with apples were first known in Strasbourg in 1605. An unidentified visitor to Strasbourg wrote “For Christmas they have fir trees in their rooms, all decorated with paper roses, sugar, gold and wafers.”

Other early Christmas tree ornaments included paper roses, nuts and sweets.

Some 17th- and 18th-century German families hung their Christmas tree upside-down. They believed by doing so, they imbued the tree with divine powers.

Hessian soldiers from Germany put up the first Christmas tree recorded in the USA. They were mercenaries hired from Prussia by King George III of England to fight in the Revolutionary War.

Queen Charlotte, the German wife of George III erected Britain’s first Christmas Tree at Windsor Castle on December 24, 1800 for a children's party. It was illuminated with wax candles and had sweets and small gifts hanging from the branches.

The Christmas tree soon became wildly fashionable in high society, but it took 40 years for them to catch on with other classes in the UK.


Candles on trees were only lit for a few minutes each day, with sand and water ready in case of fire.

The Christmas tree is widely associated with Queen Victoria’s German husband, Prince Albert. This is because he imported several spruce firs from his native Coburg for a royal Christmas that was featured in illustrated newspapers of the day.

Production of ornaments and baubles on a mass scale started in Germany in the 1880s when a group of German entrepreneurs toyed began making little glass toys and other forms for hanging on Christmas trees.

The first Christmas tree documented with electrical lights on it was put up by Edward Johnson, President of the Edison Electric Company on December 22, 1882.

Four years after the White House was wired with electricity Grover Cleveland requested the first family’s tree be adorned with hundreds of multi-colored bulbs in 1895 making him the first president to have electric Christmas lights. At the time, many people mistrusted electricity and thought that dangerous vapors would seep into their homes through the lights and wires.

In 1900, it could cost as much as $300 (around $2000 today) to illuminate a Christmas tree with electric lights.

Teddy Roosevelt banned Christmas trees from the White House as he was an environmentalist.

Artificial Christmas trees are believed to have originated in Germany in the 19th century due to fears over deforestation. They were originally made from goose feathers colored green.

The first plastic artificial Christmas tree was manufactured in 1930 by a British based company that made toilet brushes, the Addis Housewares Company. The trees were made from the same animal-hair bristles used in the brushes, save they were dyed green.

In 1944 the Rockefeller Christmas Tree was not lit to conserve energy during wartime.

Since 1947 Norway has sent a Christmas tree to London to thank the British for their help in the Second World War.

During the premiership of Margaret Thatcher, a Christmas tree was set up for the first time on the pavement outside 10 Downing Street on December 16, 1983.

CHRISTMAS TREE RECORDS

The world's tallest cut Christmas tree was a 221ft Douglas fir erected and decorated at Northgate Shopping Center, Seattle, Washington, USA, in December 1950.

The Mount Ingino Christmas Tree is a lighting illumination in the shape of a Christmas tree that is installed annually on the slopes of Mount Ingino outside the city of Gubbio, in the Umbria region in Italy.  It's made out of 1,000 lights and five miles of cable laid out on the side of the mountain. The “tree” measures 2,460 feet high by 1,476 feet wide. In 1991 the Guinness Book of Records named it "The World's Largest Christmas Tree.”

The most expensive Christmas tree, in an Abu Dhabi hotel in 2010, was worth $11 million (£8 million). It was adorned with a total of 181 diamonds, emeralds, pearls, sapphires and other precious stones.

The most Christmas trees chopped in two minutes is 27 by Erin Lavoie. The American achieved his feat on the set of Guinness World Records in Germany, on December 19, 2008.




China was the leading foreign source of artificial Christmas trees shipped to the United States ($79.7 million worth) between January and September 2011.

The largest ever display of fairy lights was 518,838 lights on a tree in Australia in 2015.

CHRISTMAS FUN FACTS

The Canadian province of Nova Scotia is the word's greatest exporter of Christmas trees.

In Ukraine spiders or spider webs are common Christmas tree decorations. Spiders are seen as signs of goodness and prosperity during the festive season.

In New Zealand a tree called the 'Pohutakawa' that has red flowers is sometimes used as a Christmas Tree.

In India, Banana or Mango trees are sometimes decorated as Christmas Trees.

In Germany they put pickle ornament on their Christmas trees. The first person to find the pickle ornament gets an extra gift.

Instead of tinsel and lights, Ukrainians decorate their Christmas trees with spider webs.

Did you know your Christmas tree is edible? The pine needles are a great source of vitamin C and can make the perfect marinade for fish. In 2012, a London restaurant was offering a Christmas tree menu for £150 a head.

Christmas trees are eaten by various zoo animals, including elephants, giraffes and rhinos. According to Berlin Zoo, elephants eat five trees at a single sitting.

Taylor Swift was raised on a Christmas tree farm.

It takes the average Christmas Tree seven to ten years to ‍mature.

The average age of a Christmas tree when it’s sold is 15.

Christmas trees need a minimum of one quart of water per inch of diameter at their base.

Sources Eat Out magazine, International Business TimesThe Rakyat Post, Purplelion.comQI: The Third Book of General Ignorance  English.manoramaonline.com, Mentalfloss.com

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