Thursday, October 10, 2019

III - Tudor Christmas - Decorations

Like all holidays, with the Tudors there were decorations. Holly and ivy were used liberally. Long before Christ, these two forms of greenery were seen as a symbol of the Sun God, whose birthday was celebrated on December 25, the date later adopted as the birthday of Jesus Christ.

One main festive item was a "Christmas Crown". This 4 to 5 foot 'crown' was made of thin saplings shaped into, what initially looked like, a large bell. Then the vines were intertwined in and out of the frame. Ivy and holly were wound throughout the structure. Like many later traditional Christian denominations, the Tudors did not decorate their homes until Christmas Eve. (And the decorations were taken down following Twelfth Night.) So on Christmas Eve the ‘Christmas Crown' was brought into the home and hung from the ceiling in the main room.


One of the most enduring customs in England is the 'Kissing Bough'. This was introduced during the Tudor era as a traditional Christmas decoration. It is a hoop or sphere woven from willow, ash or hazel wood - much smaller than the 'Christmas Crown'. Holly and ivy decorate the bough and a small figure of the Holy Family or a figure of the Christ child is placed in the middle. Mistletoe is also among the greenery, ergo the name 'Kissing'. Mistletoe has an association with fertility that dates back to ancient Greece. 

Some Boughs resembled a wreath that was hung horizontally.

Later designs were akin to balls.

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