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Significance of Christmas colours

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Christmas is an annual festival commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ. It is observed as a religious and cultural celebration among billions of people in the world.

   This feast is central to the Christian liturgical year. It is preceded by the season of     Advent.

  Each festival in the world has its own colours and Christmas is not an exception.

   The joyous season is around the corner and that means it is time to gear up for all things colourful.

   We have come to embrace some traditional Christmas colours that decorate our homes.      It does not feel like Christmas without having our homes, halls, offices decked out in colours associated with the season.

  While red and green top the charts during the jolliest time of year, gold, blue, silver, and white often follow suit.

   Each colour has historical meaning with roots in Western traditions.

  Traditionally, the most popular colours associated with Christmas are red and green, used for both practical and religious reasons.

   Today, these colours represent Santa Claus and the spirit of Christmas.

   The Victorians revitalised the red and green colours, adapting the customs from centuries earlier.

   According to University of Cambridge Research Scientist, Dr Spike Bucklow,   Medieval rood screens dating back to 14th and 16th centuries were discovered that portrayed saints and parishioners painted red and green because of the available pigment at that time.

   According to the Bucklow, the Victorians, who later restored the Medieval Churches, recognised the colour- coding and established that the colours would signify the ending of one year and the beginning of another year at Christmas.

   The red colour symbolises the blood and death of Jesus Christ. This was one significant reason why people started adding red berries to their green holly wreath. It didn’t just make the wreath eye-catching, but also made a powerful analogy. Since then, red and green became associated with Christmas. They symbolise Jesus Christ’s birth, death, and resurrection.

  The significance of red  colour during Christmas further increased due to Paradise Play. Since apple trees were barren during winter, people would manually tie apples to the tree branches to signify the Tree of good and evil. As time passed, people began replicating this practice in their homes as well. Over time, it became a tradition of decorating Christmas trees in red, be it apples or ornaments.

   Red also symbolises Christ’s teaching of the art of unconditional love. It was God’s unconditional love for his people that he decided to send his son into the world to guide people and teach them equality, mutuality, love, and understanding. Red symbolises the love, integrity, and trust that should prevail in all relationships. When people love unconditionally, there would be nothing else but joy and happiness in the entire world.

   From Santa’s cozy suit to Rudolph’s glowing nose to ribbon-framed wreaths, red is the most visible color of the season. The vibrant shade has strong cultural associations with love, health and power. Santa’s red suit originated with St. Nicholas of Myrna, a red-robed Greek bishop who gave presents to children during the fourth century AD. Red is also a powerful religious symbol used to represent the death and passion of Jesus.

    Green is considered the color of life and mystery, even before Jesus Christ was born. While every other tree dies during the winter, only holly bushes and fir trees remain evergreen. People probably thought that it was magic that helped these trees survive the harsh weather. Thus, these two plants were both feared and venerated at the same time. And ever since, green came to be associated with life.

  The Romans celebration of Saturnalia, the festival, which honored the god, Saturn, took place every year between December 17. During this ceremony, Romans would weave holly wreaths and hang on their doors and walls. These wreaths signified their desire to see the rebirth of the sun and return of the summer.

 When the churches began celebrating Christmas or Christ’s birth on the December 25, which happened at around the 4th century, the believers and followers of Christianity left the wreaths to be hung during Christmas as well. Since then, green has become associated with Christmas.

   In Christianity, green is often used to represent the life and resurrection of Jesus.

Gold, the color of the sun and light, are significant, or rather required in the cold months of winter. But how did it come to be associated with Christmas? Gold was one of the many presents the three wise men brought to baby Jesus. And it’s also the color of the star the wise men followed.

   Gold is another important liturgical color during the Christmas season. Historically, it has represented royalty, wealth and wisdom, and Jesus is often referred to as the King of Jews.

 Pretty gold decorations, wrapping paper, and bows make our Christmas celebrations sparkly and bright.

   The shade blue is associated with Mary, the mother of Jesus Christ. In the Medieval times, blue dye or paint was much more expensive than gold. Hence, blue would only be worn by wealthy people or royal families. Mother Mary is often depicted wearing blue to signify her importance.

   With much of the Northern Hemisphere blanketed in snow, white is a natural color to represent winter. It is also important to the Christian Church, which uses the hue to portray purity, joy, forgiveness and the light of God.

   Silver is another precious metal that’s long been valued and traded by cultures around the world.  Silver is considered symbolic for divinity in Christian symbolism, again referencing the birth of Jesus.

   Speaking on the significance of Christmas, Rev Father Charles Onyema described the season as a period of love and peace and also a time to reach out to the needy.

   Commenting on the significance of the Christmas colours, Tayo Adetolu, said he gets excited and falls into a festive mood. He said that the colours are magical.

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