What is the origin of the Christmas Tree?

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The Historical Roots of the Christmas Tree: Why We Celebrate with Evergreens


Every year during the Christmas season, families around the world bring a Christmas tree into their homes to decorate and celebrate the holiday. Have you ever wondered about the origins of this tradition? This English lesson will look into the historical reasons behind decorating Christmas trees and how they became synonymous with Christmas celebrations.

Now discuss any new vocabulary in the previous text:

The Pagan Connection:
Before Christianity, people in many ancient cultures, including Egyptians and Romans, celebrated the winter solstice by decorating their homes with greenery and plants. They believed that evergreen plants symbolized life and resilience during the dark, cold months. One of the most notable examples of this is the Saturnalia festival in Ancient Rome, where families decorated their homes with branches of evergreen trees.

Now discuss any new vocabulary in the previous text:

The Evolution of the Christmas Tree:
In Northern Europe, people celebrated Yule, a midwinter festival honouring the return of longer days. They burned a Yule Log to bring light and warmth into their homes as a symbol of hope for the coming springtime. Over time, this practice evolved into decorating whole trees, which eventually became known as the “Paradise Tree,” representing the Garden of Eden.

Now discuss any new vocabulary in the previous text:

Video Listening Section: (Watch the video and then answer the questions below)


                1.  In the video what does the little girls family do for a job?
                2. At the beginning of the video you see two children building something with snow. What is it called?
                3. What kind of animal is the little girl’s friend?
                4. Finally, what is the name of the supermaket that the film is advertising?

The Influence of St. Boniface:
In the 8th century, St. Boniface travelled to Germany to convert people to Christianity. He came across druids who were worshipping an oak tree as part of their pagan rituals. St. Boniface chopped down this tree and used it as an opportunity to introduce Christianity to them. A small fir tree then grew from its roots, which St. Boniface claimed symbolized Christ’s everlasting life and redemption.

Now discuss any new vocabulary in the previous text:

Grammar Questions:

1. Choose the correct verb tense to complete the following sentence:    “Every year, the family _____________ (decorate) the Christmas tree on December 1st.”
2. Identify the preposition in this sentence:    “All of the gifts were placed under the Christmas tree.”
3. Correct the punctuation in this sentence:    “The Christmas tree was adorned with ornaments strings of lights and topped with a shiny star”

Spreading Across Europe:
The use of trees in Christian worship spread across Europe over time. In Spain, a 16th-century tradition connected with Epiphany saw young men carrying pine branches decorated with candles through villages. In Latvia and Estonia, early accounts from the 15th and 16th centuries mention trees being decorated with candles, apples, and other ornaments.

Now discuss any new vocabulary in the previous text:

The Modern Christmas Tree:
The tradition finally reached England when Queen Victoria and her husband Prince Albert, introduced the custom to the British royal family in the late 18th century. In the early 19th century, the tradition spread among common British households as well. When Queen Victoria married Prince Albert of Germany, he brought this German tradition with him, and it eventually became widely popular in America as well.

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While the Christmas tree’s initial connection to pagan winter solstice celebrations may be surprising, it has become an undeniable symbol of Christmas joy and hope over the centuries. The historical roots of this tradition remind us of how different cultures come together and influence one another creating beautiful customs that bring unity and light to people across borders. So, as you gather around your beautifully decorated tree this holiday season, remember its rich history and enjoy yet another year of this enduring symbol of Christmas cheer.

Now discuss any new vocabulary in the previous text:


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