Recently, I was asked why we hang wreaths at Christmas time so here is some of the history and tradition behind wreaths…

  • wreaths symbolise the celebration and happiness of Christmas
  • Advent wreaths for Christians (particularly Catholics) are traditionally made of evergreen branches around four candles and represent everlasting life
  • ancient Persians had wreaths as a symbol of importance and success – they usually wore the wreaths on their heads
  • wreaths were a symbol of hope for spring when hung in pre-Christian Eastern Europe (especially Germany) – the green showed new life and candles gave light in dark months
  • Greeks used laurel wreaths for thir Olympic champions in 776BC or so. Some say one athlete hung his wreath on the wall as a memento and that is where hanging wreaths began
  • Romans gave wreaths to their military heroes and leaders
  • the circular shape would be linked with wreaths for heads but also represents the cycle of life (no beginning or end)
  • Americans in the 19th century used wreaths to honour deceased loved ones at Christmas – initially at the cemetery, the wreaths were brought home and hung

Now many people just hang wreaths because it is a Christmas tradition, or because they have a beautiful wreath they want to display (including wreaths made by chidlren or friends.)