Published: марта 17, 2010


Seasonal decorations of GREENERY have embellished European Christmas celebrations for centuries. Laurel’s association with the season can be traced back even further, however. The Romans celebrated their new year festival, KALENDS, by adorning their homes and temples with evergreen branches. Both the Greeks and the Romans crowned the victors of their athletic and other contests with wreaths of laurel, since the laurel branch served as a symbol of victory. In later times northern Europeans gathered laurel, or bay, for their Christmas garlands. In the seventeenth century the English poet Robert Herrick (1591-1674) noted that, according to local custom, “ROSEMARY and baies [bays] that are most faire were stuck about the houses and the churches as Christmas decorations.” Christian authorities explained this use of laurel with reference to its ancient association with victory, declaring that when used in Christmas trimmings the fragrant leaves represented the triumph of JESUS Christ.