The First Christmas Trees

The following article on Christmas trees was originally published on December 23, 1904 in The Bowbells Tribune.

The First Christmas Trees

Long a Central Figure of Festivals the World Over

Most of us know that the Christmas tree comes to us direct from Germany; and we know of the tree worship of the Druids which obtained in England and France, and which probably had some influence on the later use of the tree in the Christmas festival.

But we do not all know that a similar festival, with the tree as a crowning feature, is observed among many heathen nations. Our tree, with its small candles, its gilded nicknacks and toys for the children, is a direct descendant of this old festival which was held in honor of the sun.

Traces of it exist in Iceland, where the “service tree” is found adorned with burning lights during Christmas night. The English yule log is a faint survival of this festival.

But it goes further back than all this – to China. It has been shown that a tree with 100 lamps and flowers was placed in the steps of the audience hall.

This appears in the records of Princess Yang, who lived 713-715 B.C., and who caused a 100-lamp tree, 80 feet high, to be erected on a mountain.