About us: We own the Wild Birds Unlimited nature shop in East Lansing, Michigan,
a store that provides a wide variety of supplies to help you enjoy the birdwatching hobby.

This blog was created to answer frequently asked questions & to share nature stories and photographs.
To contribute, email me at bloubird@gmail.com.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Why green, red, and white are Christmas colors

Have you ever wondered why the colors green, red, and white trigger thoughts of Christmas? For me, December means the bright red Northern Cardinals sitting in a white snowy evergreen “chip, chip, chipping” away.

Green, red, and white are some of the most common colors that stand out in nature during the winter. In fact, at a time when most plants are barren, those plants that remain green with berries, like holly and mistletoe, captivate attention. There is also a red and white magic mushroom (Amanita muscaria), that grows almost exclusively beneath green pine trees in Europe.

All these plants were used in winter traditions during ancient times and integrated into the Christian world.

The most important clue to the origin of the Christmas tree ball ornaments comes from the miracle play on Christmas Eve about the Tree of Good and Evil performed in late Middle Ages to teach religion. In the play Eve picked an apple from the forbidden tree, Adam ate it and both were exiled from Eden. But original sin was expiated by Jesus born on the 25th of December. The apple tree was usually represented with a fir tree set on the stage with some apples put on its branches to symbolize the future coming of Redemption, wafers to symbolize the presence of Jesus, and sweets and gifts for children to enjoy.

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