Ever wondered why people the nation over deck their doors with fir branches, berries and holly at Christmas each year? Us to, so we thought we’d investigate. Here’s a b-wreath history of the wreath for your reading pleasure.
As with most traditions, there are two schools of thought when it comes to the history of the all-too-familiar festive wreath. The first believes that the wreath originated in ancient Greece and Rome, where members of the Greco-Roman society would hand-craft ring-shaped decorations called “coronas” from fresh leaves, branches, twigs, fruits and flowers, before hanging them on their door as a symbol of victory. The second says that in Christianity, a wreath was used to symbolise Christ – its circular shape representative of eternity or never ending life. In Christianity, wreaths are typically adorned with four candles, three on the exterior and one in the middle, the latter of which is lit on Christmas Eve to mark the arrival of the Light of the World, Jesus Christ. Meanwhile, it became tradition in the early 19th century to lay evergreens shaped into wreaths or crosses on graves to honour the dead.
It’s believed that the wreath’s circular structure stems back to the "coronas" that the ancient Romans wore on their heads during festivals, or to honour the warriors following arduous battles. Although “coronas” of the golden variety were only worn by royalty, or to commemorate the gods. Meanwhile, the word “wreath” itself derives from the English word “writhen” meaning to twist, such as in a circle, and its evergreen branches are said to be symbolic of the everlasting life of earth.
Whichever your school of thought, whatever your religious beliefs – an evergreen wreath is the perfect way to dress your front door for the festive season, while giving new guests a warm (fresh scented) welcome. If you’re more of a traditionalist, we suggest opting for a classic green wreath decorated with pinecones and red berries. If you’re looking for something that smells as striking as it looks – try out a wreath adorned with sweet smelling dried orange and cinnamon pieces. After a circle that makes a statement? Go all out and choose a bold wreath fitted with stand-out metallic baubles, gingerbread man biscuits, or shimmering gold leaves.