Can anyone confirm or deny this notion I have about the tradition of placing garland around trees around Christmas and Yule? Somewhere, somehow I picked up this idea that in pre-Christian Europe the entrails of one’s vanquished enemies where draped over trees. I can’t remember how I came across this idea, but in the years following I have not been able to find any reference to it. Is this just a product of my morose imagination or is there some truth? Is there a source out there?

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Its Defiately Pre-Christian, as the practice of decorating trees is dumped on in the old testament. See Jeremiah 10:2-4:

This is what the Lord says:“Do not learn the ways of the nations
    or be terrified by signs in the heavens,
    though the nations are terrified by them.
For the practices of the peoples are worthless;
    they cut a tree out of the forest,
    and a craftsman shapes it with his chisel.
They adorn it with silver and gold;
    they fasten it with hammer and nails
    so it will not totter.

 

Easy to imagine how this evolved into christmas trees, with a bit of cultural overflow :)

 

 

 

Thanks for the source Meddlesome.

I would like for this to be true.  I already have visions of draped entrails dancing in my head.

It sounds like hooey tbh. As a semi former neo-pagan-ish girl I did a bit of looking into the midwinter festivities of northern Europe and i have to say this only really came up on anti pagan sites with no sources to check. I could be wrong but i doubt it. The evergreen tree was really just a symbol of hope that life goes on through even the harshest winter. The original German lyrics to Oh christmas tree are beautiful it's called Oh tannenbaum and make no mention of christmas or religion it's just a celebration of the enduring fir tree and how it represents loyalty and hope. It's from the 16th century but wasn't related to christmas until the 20th century. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/O_Tannenbaum

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