"Mulholland's 'Tree-Topper' ~ a bit of Victorian-style seasonal splendor"
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Here we have a little top hat art done by my buddy Shag. This was on display at last weeks Third Thursday Art Show. Complete with giant pine cone, presents, functional lights, bells, a train around the brim and a bird in nest atop, it's quite the alternative to the typical xmas tree.
How It All Got Started...
Dating back centuries before Christianity, cultures brought evergreen trees, plants, and leaves into their homes upon the arrival of the winter solstice, which occurs in the northern hemisphere between December 21st and 22nd (the shortest day and longest night of the year.) Although the specific practices were different in each country and culture, the symbolization was generally the same: to celebrate the return of life at the beginning of winter's decline.
Egyptians particularly valued evergreens as a symbol of life's victory over death. They brought green date palm leaves into their homes around the time of the winter solstice.
Romans had a public festival called Saturnalia, which lasted one week beginning on December 17th, and included a variety of celebrations around the winter solstice. Curiously, the Roman winter solstice was marked on December 25th on the Julian calendar. These celebrations are thought to have merged with pagan practices of hanging mistletoe and the burning of the Yule log.
In the mid 1500's, Germans began using evergreen trees as a symbol of hope for the coming of spring. This practice is likely to have gradually evolved from pagan rituals of past, and merged with the celebration of Christmas leading to the tree's Christian beginnings.