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Christmas is the most cherished holiday in the West. The focal point in both public and private settings is an evergreen tree, decorated from top to bottom in a riot of colors. Though Christmas trees are now commonplace all over the world, the evergreen as a winter decoration originated in Germany.
As the story goes, on a winter evening around the year 1500, the Protestant reformer Martin Luther was walking home when he caught a glimpse of the twinkling stars above an evergreen forest. The snow-dusted tree branches shimmered in the moonlight. The entire scene made him think about the sky over Bethlehem on the eve of Christ's birth. Luther went home and decorated a fir tree with candles as he told the Christmas story to his children. He then lit the candles to recreate the wintry scene he had witnessed earlier.
The tradition of decorating fir trees gained popularity in Germany over time. During the mid-19th century, the German-born Prince Albert, husband to Britain's Queen Victoria, brought the tradition to England. Albert and Victoria were popular among the people, and the tradition of decorating trees quickly spread throughout the British Empire.
In large parts of America, however, it was against the law to celebrate Christmas since many Christmas traditions were pagan in origin. Things slowly changed after large numbers of German and Irish immigrants brought with them their tree-decorating traditions. By the time electric lights became commonplace, public squares across America were displaying gigantic trees. Today, the annual lighting of the tree begins the Christmas season.
-by Rachel A. Black
2006-12-20 18:01:34 補充：
2006-12-20 18:01:39 補充：
參考資料 愛爾蘭移民帶來了他們裝飾耶誕樹的傳統後，情況才漸漸改觀。電燈泡普及後，美國各地的廣場都陳列了巨大的樹木。現今，每年耶誕樹開始閃閃發光時就代表耶誕季節的來臨。參考資料： 網路資源