We love to hang wreaths to celebrate a season and make our homes inviting…but how did this tradition start? And why?
Forming plant materials in to a circle traditionally symbolizes “the strength of life.” In the fall, as the growing cycle ends, harvest wreaths celebrate the bounty of the season.
In 16th century Germany, Lutherans began to incorporate the wreath as a December ritual of Advent, a circle with no beginning and no end symbolizing the everlasting love of God.
But displaying wreaths for the approaching new year is an ancient custom to be embraced by everyone, regardless of religion or occupation. Early Romans wished each other “good health” by exchanging branches of evergreens. The boughs were curved into a circle, and hung.
Over the years, evergreens have come to symbolize strength, a worthy adversary to a harsh killing winter. Holly is the resilient king of this darker time of year, an apt symbol of victory. And pine cones symbolize long life.
So hang that evergreen wreath. Enjoy the beauty of the greenery, the scent of the pine, the texture of the cones, and the cheer of red berries and other bright decorations—while proclaiming strength, resilience, and perennial victory over winter. Good health and Happy New Year to one and all!