Who colour coded Christmas?
Green fir trees, red holly, green wreaths, Santa’s red costume, Rudolph’s red nose…have you ever wondered why green & red are the colours of Christmas?
There are many theories explaining how this came about…
Some scholars believe the Romans initiated it with their Saturnalia celebrations, honouring the God of Agriculture, Saturn. The celebrations were enjoyed 17th – 23rd December. Romans would decorate their homes with holly - an evergreen plant with red berries.
Christians believe the colour tradition is inspired by the life of Jesus whose birth they celebrate at Christmas. The evergreen trees represent Jesus’s eternal life whilst the red represents the blood shed at his crucifixion.
There is proof the colour green was a significantly powerful symbol of life long before the Romans & Jesus. Perhaps because fir trees were amongst the very few plants that remained green & holly bore its red fruit during the icy cold winters, people revered them as magical things.
Here in New Zealand, our seasons are the opposite to the places where Christmas traditions began. The arrival of our festive season is heralded by the flowering of our own Christmas tree – the Pohutukawa. For most New Zealanders, the native Pohutukawa it is the epitome of Christmas. Many North Island beaches are lined with Pohutukawa & become wreathed in masses of vibrant red flowers.
Pohutukawa grow to a magnificent size, so are best suited for growing in their natural environment, along coastlines, forests & large gardens.
Their little cousin, Metrosideros, however, makes a wonderful Christmas gift for anyone. Otherwise known as the Tahitian Pohutukawa, this wee shrub grows to a maximum of 1 metre. Its flowers are almost identical to the Pohutukawa & are prolific. Metrosideros love sunny spots in the garden or a pot.
Order your Christmas gift now & give your loved ones an early present.
Whether you are planning a kiwi Christmas at the beach under the shade of Pohutukawa tree sharing a BBQ feast, or a more traditional one indoors, we hope your Christmas is merry, bright & surrounded by loved ones.
Merry Christmas Everyone!
The Give Plants Team