General Question

AstroChuck's avatar

How did red and green come to be associated with Christmas?

Asked by AstroChuck (37438points) December 8th, 2008 from iPhone

And how long has this been the color scheme?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

10 Answers

trumi's avatar

I wonder if it has anything to do with holly… very interesting question.

shilolo's avatar

Because blue and white were already taken?

MissAnthrope's avatar

Looks like there’s different schools of thought on this one, depending on how you view the holiday (Christian religious vs. non-Christian).

An explanation here.

Honestly, I wonder if it isn’t simply because evergreens are the traditional symbol (Yule or Christmas) and red decorations provide an aesthetically-pleasing contrast.

joeysefika's avatar

Elves and Santa, Duh

AstroChuck's avatar

Silly shilolo. That’s not Santa, that’s Chanukah©Harry.

@Alena- The stuff on that site sounds like more of the same BS you read in many books on the origins of phrases and sayings.

bpeoples's avatar

I always thought it was the traditional Yule decorations of Holly (with red berries), Ivy, and Mistletoe (which is green with white flowers).

But likely what @AlenaD said… =)

La_chica_gomela's avatar

@Alena and Astro: I had always heard that Christmas trees originated from a German tradition of bringing a tree into the house in winter that predated Christmas.

AstroChuck's avatar

That was probably a winter solstice thing. A lot of Christian holiday traditions were adopted from pagan practices to entice pagans to join them.

La_chica_gomela's avatar

Astro, that’s exactly what I’m getting at. I always thought that’s where the green came from anyway…

lercio's avatar

As you say pagan folklore is responsible for a lot of Christmas tradition. Certainly when the Romans invaded northern Europe they took local beliefs and incorporated them into the Roman belief system. So when the Roman empire became the Holy Roman empire all the pagan stuff like the Green Man would have been still there. Pagan cultures in northern europe must have needed something to brighten up a cold winter so bringing an evergreen plant into the house must have been widespread.

As for red, from this link

“The Civil War cartoonist Thomas Nast drew Santa Claus for Harper’s Weekly in 1862; Santa was shown as a small elf-like figure who supported the Union. Nast continued to draw Santa for 30 years and along the way changed the color of his coat from tan to the now traditional red. Though some people believe the Coca-Cola Santa wears red because that is the CokeĀ® color, the red suit comes from Nast’s interpretation of St. Nick.”

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