At Christmas, shopping malls and living rooms around the world are full of these two colors. Almost every decoration, colored lights and even ugly sweaters on the store shelves are red and green. Why is the Christmas season inseparable from this colorway? Although there is no public opinion on how red and green become the exclusive color for Christmas, there are several interesting views for reference.
Origin 1: Tree in the traditional play Paradise
This is probably the most obscure of various hypotheses. It is believed that the connection between Christmas and red and green may originate from the traditional drama "Heaven" performed on Christmas Eve, which tells the story of the fall of mankind and the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden. This play cannot be separated from trees, and only evergreen trees are better to watch in winter. The trees also need to be hung with fruit - red apples or red pomegranates.
It is generally believed that after the play "Heaven" faded out of the stage, the tree in the play remained and became a modern Christmas tree. The red of fruit and the green of trees have become the representative colors of the Christmas season in the eyes of the public.
Origin 2: holly
The theory of Bruce David Forbes, a professor of religion, is that medieval Europeans looked for things to do in the cold winter. So they thought, why not have a party?
This party "will have evergreen trees, which symbolize life when everything is bleak, and some evergreen trees can bear fruit in deep winter, such as holly or mistletoe". (But the fruit of mistletoe is white.) The bright red and green in the deep winter naturally become the representative colors of Christmas.
Origin 3: Altar screen
In 2011, Spike Barcro of the University of Cambridge commented: "We... realized that the holly tree is a typical Christmas plant, and the red and green are popular because of the people of the Victorian era. Their complex of color matching stems from the medieval painting that can still be seen on the altar screen in the 15th and 16th centuries."
Up to the time of the Reformation, the altar screen has always been an indispensable part of western churches. The purpose of the altar screen is to separate the nave (where the congregation sits) and the high altar (around the altar, where the clergy stand) of the church. The screen is painted with exquisite portraits of local saints, donors or other people.
According to Barrow, the common color combinations of the altar screen are red/green and blue/gold. One group of colors is the color of water (blue or green), and the other group is the color of fire (gold or red). Barrow pointed out that these colors represent a barrier that separates secular parishioners from spiritual altars and sanctuaries.
Before the Reformation in England, most altar screens had been abandoned. For many years after that, people either destroyed it wantonly or let it rot. According to Barrow, hundreds of years later, Victorians began to repair these altar screens and noticed the red/green color matching on them. They may change the boundary represented by this color scheme to another one: the boundary between the old year and the new year.
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