Sunday, 7th March 2021

This Month's Magazine
The Christmas Tree origin

The Christmas Tree origin

In the 8th century Saint Boniface was preaching amongst the Germanic peoples.....

In the midst of the rhetoric, it is still not clear why, the saint cut down a huge tree which fell and knocked down several others.

Somehow, a small fir tree was saved from the tragedy and Saint Boniface took advantage of this to say: “Here is the tree of the Lord. Call it from now on the Tree of the Child Jesus” (Ecce arbor Domini; vocate illum abies Iesu).

From that moment, with the arrival of Christmas, first the Germans and then other European peoples adorned a fir tree with paper flowers, apples, gold leaf and candies to celebrate the birth of Jesus.

This tradition became so popular that in the year 1560, an Alsace edict prohibited the settlers from having more than one tree in their houses and not exceeding 2.50 meters in height (about 8 feet). The candles (the current lights) were added later to reflect the souls of the dead relatives.

Apparently, the promoter of the Protestant Reformation In Germany, Martin Luther, was the one who decided to add the candles to enlighten him. It is believed that this
way it attracted more attention from young children when approaching the "Tree of Jesus."


From then on, the practice became common and spread throughout the rest of Europe. The first Christmas tree in Spain was erected in 1870 in Madrid, in the Alcañices Palace, located in the current building of the Bank of Spain.

The custom of decorating trees in Spanish homes was brought by a princess of Russian origin named Sofia Troubetzkoy, who contracted a second marriage with a Spanish aristocrat, José Osorio y Silva, Marquis of Alcañices (therefore, owner of the palace). When the Christmas holidays arrived, she decided to decorate her home in the purest European style and, for this she decided to use a huge illuminated fir tree as the centre of her decoration. This is how this was the first of many that
began to be used from that moment in the city and in the rest of Spain.

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