Polish Christmas tree – according to Polish Christmas tradition, is decorated and lit in family rooms on the day of Christmas Eve. Other trees are placed in most public areas and outside churches. No one can imagine Christmas without beautifully decorated tree. But where and how has it all started? Was this custom always kept by your Polish ancestors?
Decorating Christmas tree is one of the youngest Christmas traditions in Poland. It was brought to us from Germany in 18th century. At first it was popular only in big cities. With time people started to decorate trees in their houses although it was not accepted by the Catholic Church right from the beginning. It was caused by the fact that decorating Christmas tree was taken from pagans and was considered as magic ritual and witchcraft. The tree was kind of a talisman that should protect the house from evil spirits and keep family members safe.
According to Polish tradition the tree should be a fir or a pine. By folk beliefs it symbolize life, by the Church the green colour of the tree is regarded as a symbol of hope. The ornaments also was not accidental. In the past Christmas trees were decorated with candles, cakes, nuts, apples and handmade paper adornments. Each one of these ornaments had its own meaning for example apples were for health and beauty, nuts for strength and welfare and candles for protection against evil and darkness.
Today Christmas tree decorations are less symbolic. We usually use electric lights, shimmering chains, glass balls handmade, paper ornaments are becoming more and more popular. Although all these are less symbolic then it used to be the true magic is in decorating the tree with our beloved ones and that is why Christmas tree is still one of the most important elements of Polish Christmas.