Origin Of Christmas Colors: Learn About The Connotations Of Colors | Kidadl

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Origin Of Christmas Colors: Learn About The Connotations Of Colors

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The exchanging of gifts is a Christian tradition related to Saint Nicholas.

There were not only red and green colors but also blue and white, red and blue, or blue and green in Victorian Christmas cards. Santa Claus was not always depicted in red robes.

A whole lot of the colors that we come across and use during the Christmas period have historical importance with a mix of religion, pop culture, and legend. The traditional colors of Christmas are snow-white, pine green, and heart red. Silver, gold, and other metallic colors are also commonly used. Christmas is celebrated on December 25 to commemorate the birth of Jesus Christ. This day is also a public holiday in several countries. Even though the exact date or month of the birth of Jesus is unknown, in the early fourth century, the church fixed his birth date as December 25. Christmas for Christians is about believing that God took the form of a man to come to this world and atone for human sins. The word Christmas is a modification of 'Christ's mass'. German Lutherans first had a Christmas tree in the 16th century.

If you enjoy reading these facts about the origin of Christmas colors, then make sure to read some more interesting facts about Christmas in Russia and Christmas in Ireland here at Kidadl.

Meaning Of Christmas Colors

The red color commonly used at Christmas time may refer to Jesus' blood that was shed during his crucifixion. The color green may represent eternal life, and gold is associated with royalty and one of the three wise men's gifts.

Traditional Christmas colors have both historical and religious origins. This festival is not just about being jolly, family fun, or good food, but signifies a lot through decorations like green Christmas trees or fir trees, Santa's robes, and colorful gifts. Christmas colors, like other festive colors, hold memories and feelings. These types of colors help companies to brand and market products for the Christmas holiday. For decorations, we often choose an evergreen Christmas tree and holly wreaths as they do not lose color over winter.

Red is mostly important due to fruits; red berries and apples (on a paradise tree) are easily available in winter. So, people used them for decorations. Red can also be seen in the outfit of Santa Claus. Yellow or gold may represent the valuable metal and also the warmth of the sun, which is scarce in winter. White has always been considered by many to bring peace. Blue represents the ice and cold of the winter season.

The History Of Christmas Colors

In history, and even now, Christmas colors represent the spirit of Christmas and Santa Claus.

Christmas colors have their roots in Northern and Western European customs and regions. Red and green are popular colors, as wells as blue, gold, white, and silver. The Victorians recovered red and green colors, adapting them from early customs. As per Dr. Spike Buklow, a scientist at the University of Cambridge, medieval rood screens that were discovered, dating back to the 14th and 16th centuries, showed that parishioners and saints painted the colors red and green as these were the only pigments available at the time. However, there might be a different symbolic meaning to red and green that dates back to earlier than the 14th century. These colors indicate the parting of the church between parishioners and priests.

The Victorians later rebuilt medieval churches and identified this color-coding. This later established that additional colors indicate the end of the year and the beginning of a new year. Previously, only wealthy and royal families could afford blue dye. Jesus' mother, Mary, is often portrayed in blue-colored clothing. The color red comes from the red holly berry and red apples from paradise trees. As per the coca-cola company, Saint Nicholas was portrayed in tanned animal skin or red robes. Later, Coca-cola sanctioned Fred Mizen, an illustrator, to paint a Santa Claus drinking coke. The image of Santa Claus was later shaped by Haddon Sundblom to make Santa look jolly and plump.

Indulge in bright facts about the origin stories of Christmas colors in other cultures.

How Red And Green Became Traditional Christmas Colors

Ancient Celts celebrated the red and green colored holly plants and believed that, even in the dead winter, this holly kept the world beautiful.

Although red and green are currently widely used during Christmas, these colors were related to a different holiday called the winter solstice. The Christmas tree also has its origins in the winter solstice. The color green was considered to be the color of mystery and life. Ancient Celtic people had a strong belief that holly plants would bring good fortune and beauty to homes in mid-winter. These holly plants were used for decorations for a good new year. Also, as apple trees were packed during winter, priests in a church would bring a pine tree and attach apples to its branches for representation of the tree of evil and good.

As fir trees and holly bushes hold their color throughout winter, they are feared and worshipped. Romans celebrated a festival called Saturnalia between December 17-23, honoring the God Saturn. So, Romans would hang holy wreaths on their walls and doors, signifying their desire to see the summer season soon. When churches started celebrating Christmas, Christians started to leave holly wreaths hung on their doors. On the other hand, ancient Egyptians would bring palm branches to their homes, especially during the middle of winter. During the middle ages, many European countries performed Paradise plays in which the paradise tree is featured. The stories in these plays were bible stories narrated to people who could not read.

The red color may signify the death and blood of Jesus. Red berries were added to the holly wreath for the same reason. This combination of red and green is considered by some to represent Christ's life, birth, death, and resurrection. The color red was seen as the tree of good and evil. People started to replicate this practice in their homes. It is possible that Santa wears a red robe because bishops wore these robes. Red also signifies the unconditional love taught by Christ for some people. It is believed that it was due to God's love that he sent his son to teach and guide people. So, red may mean trust, love, and integrity.

What other Christmas colors hold religious symbolism?

White represents purity and peace; violet or purple is a symbol of repentance and fasting; rose or pink is used during the third Sunday of Advent or Gaudete Sunday in the Catholic Church; and blue is related to Jesus Christ's mother, Mary.

Jesus Christ is considered by many to have been pure and sinless, like the color white. It is believed that people who wash off their sins by acknowledging Christ to be their savior become pure. White is also the color of snow. Earlier, white paper wafers were used for decorating paradise trees. These wafers signify the bread that people eat in the Mass of Christian Communion. Churches also use white colors during this festival, except for the Russian Orthodox churches that use gold colors. Gold represents the light and sun, which are requirements in the cold winter months. Gold was also the present brought by one of the wise men for baby Jesus. The silver star was the star that the wise men followed to get to baby Jesus. Gold color also represents the giving nature of God and the gift of eternal life. God chose a poor and peasant woman, Mary, to give birth to Jesus Christ, which many people take to show that the Almighty treats all people equally. In the Bible, Jesus Christ went on to do the same.

Purple, as mentioned before, represents royalty. It is the color used during Advent, and the church's altar is either covered in purple or violet. However, many churches today make use of blue instead of purple. The first candle (called the prophecy candle, the candle of hope, or Advent Wreath) is purple. Also, the angel candle (also called the candle of love, the Bethlehem candle, or the candle of preparation used as the fourth Advent candle) is purple. Rose or pink signifies joy and love as well as the change in season towards celebration from repentance. The third Advent Wreath candle (called the Shepherd candle or candle of joy) is pink. Blue represents the waters of creation, the color of the night or sky, and even heaven. Mary, the mother of Jesus, is associated with this color.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestion for 'The origin of Christmas colors', then why not take a look at 'Facts about Christmas in England' or 'When do you take down your Christmas tree'?

If someone on our team is always keen to learn and grow, then it has to be Arpitha. She realized that starting early would help her gain an edge in her career, so she applied for internship and training programs before graduation. By the time she completed her B.E. in Aeronautical Engineering from Nitte Meenakshi Institute of Technology in 2020, she had already gained much practical knowledge and experience. Arpitha learned about Aero Structure Design, Product Design, Smart Materials, Wing Design, UAV Drone Design, and Development while working with some leading companies in Bangalore. She has also been a part of some notable projects, including Design, Analysis, and Fabrication of Morphing Wing, where she worked on new age morphing technology and used the concept of corrugated structures to develop high-performance aircraft, and Study on Shape Memory Alloys and Crack Analysis Using Abaqus XFEM that focused on 2-D and 3-D crack propagation analysis using Abaqus.

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