Weird History

The Origins Of Popular Christmas Traditions And Symbols

All holidays have particular traditions and rituals associated with them, and Christmas is no exception. What are the origins of Christmas symbols? Like the Christian communities that celebrate the holiday across the world, Christmas symbols have diverse and varied roots.

Many of the things we associate with Christmas initially had nothing to do with the Christian holiday that celebrates the birth of Jesus. Instead, some of these symbols emerged from centuries-old European traditions to mark the winter solstice. A number of these pagan, pre-Christian traditions were repurposed and rebranded for the Christian holiday, like the pagan Christmas tree. Others were created over the course of the 19th and 20th centuries.

From the yule log's origin to the true origin of Christmas stockings and the history of Christmas ornaments, many holiday symbols' backstories are as surprising as they are complicated.