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Legend of the Christmas Tree

There is a legend that comes down to us from the early days of Christianity in England. One of those helping to spread Christianity among the Druids was a monk named Wilford. One day, surronded by a group of his converts, he struck down a huge oak tree, which, in the Druid religion, was an object of worship. As it feel to earth, the oak tree split into four pieces and four pieces and from its center sprung up a fir tree. Wilford turned to the Druids and said, "This little tree shall be your Holy Tree tonight. It is wood of peace, for your houses are built of fir. It's the sign of an endless life, for its leaves are evergreen. See how it points toward the heavens? Let this be called the tree of the Christ Child. Gather about it, not in the wilderness, but in your homes. There it will be surrounded with loving gifts and rites of kindness."

The modern Christmas tree as we know it dates back to 16th century Germany. The decorations used at that time consisted of various colors of paper roses, apples, wafers, gilt and sugar. In Protestant countries, Luther is credited as having been the first to place lighted candles on a tree in order to simulate the sight he had seen while traveling home one winter's night as the moonlight shimmered on the snow-covered trees. And the tree was first introduced into England in 1841 by German Prince Albert, husband of Queen Victoria. The record of the first tree in the U.S.A., still undisputed, was that of German immigrants in Pennsylvania who first put up one on December 20, 1821.

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Last Updated Saturday, November 20th, 2004