Thursday, December 18, 2008

Tree-Hugger Christmas Trees

Some people call it a "Seasonal Tree". . . others a "Hanukkah Bush". . . For 2008 a new name has popped up, "Holiday Joy Tree". . . This latest incarnation of the Christmas Tree can be seen in Zellers advertising flyers. . . So, take your pick of names, but the one I've made up is . . . Huggable Christmas Tree. . .for all the tree-huggers who prefer a real fir or pine tree aka evergreens.


Cedar (Pinus cedrus). . .mentioned in the Bible, it was considered a sacred tree by the Jews. . .The Egyptians used cedar wood for coffins as its rich cedar smell drove away insects. . .We still use cedar wood to line closets for the same reason. . .Native Canadians make a cedar tea and serve it during times of teaching to focus the mind. . .During the Christmas season, credar wreaths are availble at gardening stores and markets. . .or make one yourself and hang it on a door or over the fireplace.

Spruce (Pica abies) is the most popular evergreen used as a Christmas Tree. The scent of its needles has a calming effect. . . the wonderful aroma of the essential oil contained in the spruce fills a room with freshness. . . A drop of spruce essential oil added to bathwater can sooth ragged nerves. . . Originally, fir trees (evergreens) were brought into a room in the belief that forest spirits would tag along. People believed the spirts would bring protection to the home. The Norway Spruce is symbolic of life enduring, and is one of the trees considered to be sacred. . . The fir tree in St. Peter's Square this Christmas is a 33 meter Norway Spruce. Donated to the Vatican by Austrians, all the wood from this giant tree will be recycled into children's toys and furniture.

The branches of Juniper with its blue berries is an important Christmas evergreen. . . In Medieval times the branches were burned and the smoke would act as a disinfectant purifying the air in hospital rooms. . . The berries were used as a cooking spice and an ingredient when brewing beer and gin.

The tradition of burning Yule logs in the fireplace in winter is a symbolic ritual going back to Europe and Scandinavian countries. Logs of Ash or Oak were burned to honor the World Tree (Back then people were even bigger treehuggers than they are today). . . Yule logs were burned in combination with herbs and grains. . . Figures of straw animals also were burned with the logs during the Yule feast. The Yugoslavians burned "forest incense" pine needles and pine resin along with barley on their Yule log. . . This Yule Log tradition was brought to America by the English colonists.


Lady's Bedstraw (Galium verum). . . According to legend, Jesus' cradle in the manger was lined with Lady's Bedstraw. . . It's a sweet smelling herb. . . Traditionally, this and other plants like Thyme and St. John's wort, along with Galium verum, has been used for hundreds of years to stuff mattresses. . . The scent of the herbs supposedly repelled fleas.
The evergreen Rosmary has strongly aromatic leaves and smell like incense. . .On the winter solstice, the Berbers of Morocco smudge (burn) rosemary leaves. . .Peruvians consider the evergreen Coca Bush to be a sacred plant. . .In Latin American Christmas folk legend, the Virgin Mary rested under the coca bush during her escape into Egypt, she chewed some leaves and felt refreshed and confident. . .(just like stopping for a coffe break.)


Visit the website, Today's Flowers for more pictures of plants and flowers from around the globe.
Visit the website, Scenic Sunday to view photographs taken by bloggers around the world.
Visit the website, Beverly's Pink Saturday for 82 bloggers/crafters who like the color pink.

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