In a few days, each of us will embellish our home with decorations and in all, or almost all, the houses there will be a bright and sparkling Christmas tree with many gifts all around. Whether it’s big or small, it doesn’t matter: it must be bright, colorful and maybe show a beautiful star on top and keep us company for all the Christmas holidays until the day of Epiphany. But do you know how the custom of setting up the Christmas tree came about? We’ll tell you!
In ancient times, on December 25th, the sun was celebrated, which is reborn from the winter solstice: the days become longer and longer as spring approaches, and this is seen a bit as a “return to life”. A symbol used during the celebrations for the winter solstice was the tree seen by all cultures as a symbol of life and also used in many pagan and then Christian rites. According to ancient legends, when Jesus was born, the plants germinated and flourished: hence the custom of putting cherry or apple branches in the water to bloom by Christmas, and during the days of Advent the houses were decorated with branches of evergreen trees. During the Middle Ages, on the evening of Christmas Eve, the “mysteries” took place in the churchyard. representations of Adam, Eve, the angel and the devil. The frame of this scene was obviously the tree of sin. This tree changed according to the region in which the “mystery” was represented until the evergreen pine became common. From this representation comes the current meaning of the Christmas tree: the tree that has meant the fall of humanity also becomes a symbol of rebirth, a tree around which man receives forgiveness.
Initially the trees were decorated with apples, then with wafers until the modern decorations were used, those that we use today.
Another symbol of Christmas is also the crib, the representation of the Nativity. If you are in Sicily take the opportunity to see the cribs of Caltagirone with our partner Sicily Day By Day participating in their cultural tours.
As soon as you have prepared your Christmas tree you can spend a day on Europe’s highest active volcano, Mount Etna. Contact us to book your tour on Etna, you will have the opportunity to live a unique experience: accompanied by our nature guides you can go trekking on extinct craters and walk along little-known routes.