Why do we hang a wreath on our front door at Christmas?
As the Christmas wreath has been around for centuries, its history and symbolism has developed over the years to represent all sorts of things, with many more modern and contemporary associations being added along the way. However, as with many seasonal traditions, we adopt them without too much question. For a wreath, we enjoy how they look and they are a great way to signal the festive period by hanging them on our front doors for all to see.
A wreath is usually a circular shaped decoration traditionally made up of evergreens, holly, pine cones, berries, twigs and occasionally dried fruit. Of course they have evolved to include all kinds of shapes and materials, some fresh, some artificial and with endless possibilities in terms of design, colour and content. In New Mexico, they make wreaths out of dried chillies!
A wreath can be hung anywhere but they are best known as an external door hanging. They may often be found above the fireplace and on internal doors too. Less popular, they are sometimes seen at Easter time and as a year-round decoration.
Its circular shape originally represented unending life, particularly in the Christian faith. The evergreens and other plant-life have associations with life, fertility and growth. The spiky parts of holly were intended to represent a crown of thorn and the berries echoed the blood shed by Jesus. Other reports state that the wreath harks back to Roman times and was displayed as a sign of victory. Many traditions have their roots in a number of origins.
Today, much of this is lost or irrelevant which is fine - that's how traditions develop - out of a historical context and then through finding their place in modern life. At Pacific we love making wreaths and often make them to order, incorporating colour schemes and special requests.
Wreaths are a joyous and beautiful part of our Christmas - long may they continue!