Pagan origins of tradition of decorating churches with evergreens

AS the sacred festival of Christmas is now approaching, a few remarks on the custom of adorning Churches with Evergreens cannot, I think, be uninteresting.

It has sometimes been conjectured, that it arose merely to perpetuate tbe circumstance of the people cutting down palm-trees, and strewing them in the way, crying, ” Hosannah to tbe Son of David !”

Others have viewed it merely as an indication of festivity and gladness; but it is more probable, that, as the Primitive Christians originated in the period when the antieut Pagan Mythology prevailed, it is observable that in some circumstances, there is an evident similarity between their external ceremonies.— Apollo, the emblem of the Sun, who is represented as enjoying Youth and Immortality, had the undying laurel dedicated to his temple and devoted to his honour.

When “the Son of Righteousness arose with healing under his wings,” his votaries and disciples, solicitous by every method to testify their adoration of the Divine character, always celebrate the Anniversary of his Birth, by a cheerful display of Evergreens, during that dreary season, a symbol of Him, ” whose leaf never withers,” and au evidence of their belief in his unchangeable glory and immortality. Yours, etc. R. S.

Source:

The gentleman’s magazine, and historical chronicle, 1813

 

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