The wreath is one of the most popular decorations during the Christmas holiday season. Wreaths are traditionally hung on front doors as a sign of welcome, used in Advent Wreaths in Christian traditions, strung from lampposts in cities, and used in a variety of other different ways. Christmas wreaths have certainly become an important part of modern December holiday traditions, but they actually have a long history of symbolism spanning many different cultures. Here’s some background on the various symbolisms of the wreath and the ways those meanings translate to our modern cultural tableau.
Cultural Traditions of the Wreath
The wreath has been used symbolically for centuries. Pre-Christian, or Pagan, cultures placed much importance on the December celebration of the Winter Solstice, the shortest day of the year. For them, this was a time of death and rebirth, a celebration of the end of the ever shortening days and the anticipation of the coming promise of spring. As part of many celebrations, evergreen wreaths were gathered as a sign of the approaching spring light. In Sweden, wreaths were fashioned for similar purposes, with the addition of candles that symbolized the power of the sun.
Modern Meanings of the Wreath at Christmas
The Christmas wreath has come to convey its own set of meanings in modern times. Across time, the circle or ring shape of a wreath that has no beginning and no end symbolizes eternity or eternal rebirth. Pre-Christian cultures’ interpretation of the power of evergreens to battle the forces of winter has evolved into a modern representation of eternal life. The vast array of materials that are used to create a modern wreath carry significance as well. Holly represents immortality, for instance, whereas cedar stands for strength. But for many, the wreath’s symbolic attributes are much simpler than all this. The Christmas wreath has evolved into a sign of welcoming and an acknowledgment of holiday cheer for this season that emphasizes generosity, giving, and the gathering of loved ones.
With a seemingly endless array of great artificial Christmas wreaths now available, it’s easy to question whether it’s worth the bother of buying a fresh one that will only last you one Christmas. But actually, there’s nothing like a natural handmade wreath, especially when it’s beautifully made and full of yuletide scent. If it’s delivered to your door – which almost all these are – even better.
Take a look at these amazing floral creations, maybe they will inspire you to make something similar and hang it on your door.