Tom Bjarnason: Putting Christmas Wreath on Door
Artist: Tom Bjarnason
The wreath has a long and interesting history ... but never is it more meaningful than when used as a poignant and beautiful symbol of Christmas. One of the first uses of the wreath occurred in classical times, when an athlete who won a sports event was crowned with a laurel wreath as a reward. However, it was the Christians who long ago made the festive wreath a moving symbol of their faith. According to Christian belief, the wreath symbolizes Christ's victory over death and the forces of darkness. Today, a special type of wreath, the Advent wreath, bears four candles and on each of the four Sundays before Christmas, one of the candles is lighted and prayers said in anticipation of Christmas. In lands blanketed in thick forests, such as Canada, wreaths have traditionally been constructed of evergreen, but in Mediterranean lands, it is common to find beautiful garlands of fruit woven into holiday decorations such as the wreath. Although the wreath formed of evergreen brings to mind a crackling fire and winter snows -- long associated with Christmas by Northern Europeans and North Americans -- the Mediterranean wreath with its fruits and vegetables is probably more in keeping with the vegetation available on the first Christmas in Bethlehem. The ceremony of hanging the wreath over the door at Christmas has a long and nostalgic history. Indeed, few Christmas decorations evoke the hospitality of the holiday season quite like the traditional Christmas wreath.
This painting was originally published on the Fleetwood® First Day Cover for the Canada 32¢ Christmas stamp issued November 3, 1983.
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