There are numerous legends associated with the Christmas tree and how it came to be associated with Christmas. But, legend or no legend, the fact that Christmas tree is and has been an integral part of Christmas celebrations cannot be ignored. As this ritual has almost been there from eternal times, it is difficult to find out which was the first Christmas when this tree became a part of the Christmas celebration. There are a number of legends and folktales which are told to the young lads in Europe in order to teach them about the importance of a Christmas tree at a Christmas celebration. It is said that the first Christmas tree was decorated in Germany in the 700's. But, it is just a supposition as there are no written proofs to support this fact too. A few of the popular legends are being further mentioned in the article.
The Pagan Legend
As per one legend, today's version of the Christmas tree dates back to the Pagan Yule celebration. The Pagan families used to believe in the wood sprits. They would bring a real tree inside their home in winters, in order to provide a place to the spirits to remain warm during the cold months. Pagans even hung bells from the branches of the tree so that they would know when a spirit came inside their home. Food items were also hung on the branches and a five-pointed star, the pentagram, was placed on top of the tree.
The Paradise Play
Another version of the legends about the Christmas tree goes back to the 1300's. During that time, artists used to roam around in the streets carrying huge pine boughs, loaded with apples. This act was a kind of advertisement for the miracle plays they used to stage on the steps of the church, the plays about Adam and Eve, with the boughs representing the Garden of Eden. Slowly and gradually, this 'paradise tree' came to be associated with life and was named as the 'Christ Child's Tree'.
The Legend of Saint Boniface
Yet another legend of the Christmas tree revolves around the story of a Christian monk, Saint Boniface, who used to spread Christianity amongst the Druids in England, in the early days of the religion. One day, he struck down a huge oak tree, which was believed to be an object of worship as per the Druid religion. As the tree fell to ground, it splintered and from within it, a fir tree sprung up. The monk declared the fir tree to be the 'Holy Tree', a symbol of endless love, peace as well as the Christ Child. One of the first written references to a Christmas tree was made in 1605. In that year, a German tourist reported seeing a tree decorated with apples, gilded candies, paper roses and thin wafers.
Martin Luther's Legend
Another legend which speaks of the first Christmas tree is related to Martin Luther, who later became the founder of Protestant faith. The legend states that once on a Christmas evening, Martin Luther was walking in the woods when he saw an evergreen tree. Through the branches of the pine tree he was able to see a number of stars which glowed brightly in the night sky. Mesmerized by the beauty of the tree, he cut the tree and took it home to show his family. To recreate the scene inside his house he lit a number of candles on the branches of the tree.
Legend of a Poor Woodsman
The legend states that once there lived a poor woodsman who found a lost and hungry child in the woods. As it was a Christmas Eve, the woodsman took the child to his hut and gave him food and shelter. When the woodsman woke up the next morning, he found a beautiful sparkling tree outside the door in his yard. He realized that the child was Christ himself in disguise and that He created the tree to thank and reward the woodsman for the noble deed.
There are a number of other legends too which are associated with the Christmas tree and its origin as a Christmas ritual. Whatever the truth may be, the tree has become an integral part of Christmas celebration and will remain so till decades to come.
There are numerous legends about the Christmas tree. Here, we have provided some of the Christmas tree legend.