The Garden Muse — The Christmas Wreath

Published 4:53 pm Thursday, December 29, 2022

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Christmas Day has come and gone, but we’re still in Christmastide. And with that, let’s talk about a holiday symbol, the Christmas wreath. The origin of the wreath dates to the ancient Persian empire. They were utilized as status symbols of importance/ success and were known as ‘diadems.’

The use of wreaths and their symbolism varies widely. To the early Romans they were symbols of joy & victory, to the Pagans they were closely intertwined to the four seasons and circle of life. Many people today see the wreath as a seasonal decoration, a secular symbol that does not represent any religion.

The wreath’s association with Christmas began in the 16th century when the Christians adopted the use of them from the pagan celebration of Yule. It became customary to use them as Advent wreaths. Traditionally made of evergreens, holly oak (evergreen oak tree), and red berries. Evergreens are the symbol of growth and everlasting life.

Christmas wreaths were traditionally hung on doors or windows to symbolize that the Christmas spirit dwells within the home and hearts of the occupants.

It is customary to take down the Christmas wreath on January 6th, the Sunday after Epiphany, the twelfth night and the end of the Twelve Days of Christmas.

Dawn Conrad is a Virginia Cooperative Extension Master Gardener, Herbal enthusiast, Writer and Fiber Artist. She can be contacted at