Red and Green have long since been recognised as the traditional Christmas colours but have you ever wondered why? It seems that there are several different explanations but there are two which are the most popular and accepted reasons for the colours.
The first explanation, which is itself split into two reasons for the green, is that the colours represent Christ. In around the 4th Century, at the time when 25th December started to be celebrated as remembering the birth of Christ, Christians who had adorned their homes with wreaths of holly for the Winter Solstice, just left thew wreaths to decorate their homes through Christmas as well. Thus the colour green and wreaths of holly became associated with the birth of Christ.
If green represents the birth of Christ, red represents the blood of Christ and his death. People at this time also took to adding red berries to their green wreaths of holly. Thus red and green has become associated with the celebrations of Christ's birth, death, and rising from the dead.
Remaining with the explanation that red and green represent the colours of Christ, the other explanation for the colour green is that it represents the eternal hope and the potential for everlasting life that Jesus sacrifice made possible. This is represented by the Evergreen tree which itself is always green and which therefore represents life all year round.
The second explanation for the colours is more historical. During the 1300s when vast numbers of the local populations were illiterate, churches would often put on Miracle plays in order to help teach their learning. The Paradise Play, which was presented on December 24th, related the story of Adam and Eve and their plight in the Garden of Eden. Props were needed, and since there was no way to provide an apple tree in the middle of winter, it was decided that a pine tree with apples tied to its branches, would serve as the Tree of Good and Evil. This became a popular prop for local churches and was used wherever the play was performed. Soon churches everywhere had adopted this tradition and included it in their celebrations each year.The Paradise tree was so popular in Germany that private citizens began to erect pine trees in their homes during the holidays, decorating them with red apples. Before long the tradition was so widespread that the modern day Christmas Tree tradition was born and the official colours of the Christmas season became green and red.