Artificial or real, Christmas trees add charm to festivities

Published: December 22, 2017
People decorate Christmas trees and shop for the occasion. PHOTO: EXPRESS/AGENCIES

People decorate Christmas trees and shop for the occasion. PHOTO: EXPRESS/AGENCIES

ISLAMABAD: With only a few days left in commencement of the celebrations of Christmas, the Christian community in the federal capital and the garrison town has started decorating the evergreen coniferous tree which is the main festivity of the event.

However, owing to the price issue, most of the people are preferring artificial Christmas trees these days.

Christmas tree is a symbol of the Christmas celebrations to welcome the arrival of Santa Claus and creates more attraction to the festivity of Christmas with its colourful decorative look.

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The members of Christian community have started decorating the evergreen coniferous tree, real or artificial, as a tradition associated with the celebration of Christmas.

The tree is usually decked with different ornaments including baubles, small bells painted gold or silver, stars of different shapes and sizes, pine cones, apples, candies, tinsel and balloons made from glass, metal, wood and ceramic. An angel and star is often placed at the top of the tree representing the host of angels. “I have completed the decoration of my Christmas tree before the time and I am excited because all my friends are visiting my home to see it,” said Naila Yusuf, a young office executive.

She said decorating Christmas tree is a hallmark of this festival, “our festival remains incomplete without bringing this tree”.

The festival of Christmas also brings good business to the sweet sellers, gift shops as well as the sellers of ornaments for Christmas tree.

Hamid Nawaz, a decorative items seller, said that people mostly use colourful candles and electric lights (fairy lights) to decorate their small sized trees as these are easily available here while many people also decorate outdoor trees with lights and some other ornaments.

He said Christmas, like all other festivals is an opportunity to sell and do good business.

Centuries old tradition

The earliest accounts of decorating an evergreen tree at Christmas were recorded in Livonia (roughly modern territory of Estonia and Latvia) in 15th century.

According to History.Com Germany is credited with starting the Christmas tree tradition as we now know it in the 16th century when devout Christians brought decorated trees into their homes. Some built Christmas pyramids of wood and decorated them with evergreens and candles, if wood was scarce. It is a widely held belief that Martin Luther, the 16th-century Protestant reformer, first added lighted candles to a tree. Walking toward his home one winter evening, composing a sermon, he was awed by the brilliance of stars twinkling amidst evergreens. To recapture the scene for his family, he erected a tree in the main room and wired its branches with lighted candles.

Most 19th-century Americans found Christmas trees an oddity. The first record of one being on display was in the 1830s by the German settlers of Pennsylvania, although trees had been a tradition in many German homes much earlier. The Pennsylvania German settlements had community trees as early as 1747. But, as late as the 1840s Christmas trees were seen as pagan symbols and not accepted by most Americans.

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However, it was made popular by Queen Victoria and her German spouse Prince Albert of Saxe. Today the decorated tree remains an icon of Christmas celebrations.

Ready for celebrations

The Christian community is finalising its preparations for celebrating the Christmas festival with more enthusiasm and renewed spirit, feeling the echo of church bells that announce the birth of Jesus.

Scores of Christian families can be witnessed in Bazaar and markets for buying clothes, shoes and other commodities relating to the Christmas day from dawn to dusk.

Shahzad Massih, said that on the eve of Christmas, he renovated his house and is shopping for his family was almost finalised. He further said that children were being prepared to present tableaus and other religious songs on the Christmas day.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 22nd, 2017.

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