The Origins of Christmas Traditions

The festive season of love and joy is spread during the month of December, but why do we celebrate it the way we do? 

The biggest mystery lies behind the tree, originating in Germany during the 16th century; they were the first to start the tradition of putting up trees to celebrate the holiday. According to, it is also rumored that Martin Luther, a famous German priest and theologian, lit candles and lined his family tree after being inspired by the stars that shone so bright in the sky.  Christmas itself started as a pagan holiday and spread worldwide with people from all over celebrating it in special ways. 

Germany is credited for a lot of the traditions that the holiday entails. The candy cane is another one of their contributions to the festive customs. The story goes that a choirmaster in 1670 wanted to keep the children quiet in church, so he asked a local candy maker to make sugar sticks for him. However, they were not popular until production could be automated. Making the signature candies was laborious and only candy makers could create the treats by twisting the candy in an extensive process. They began being mass produced in the United States in 1919 by candymaker Bob McCormack. Now, according to, almost two billion candy canes are made each year with 90% of those sold between Thanksgiving and Christmas. 

The Ancient Greeks can be thanked for their romantic tradition of the mistletoe. The tradition of the mistletoe is that any two people standing together underneath it must share a kiss. If one is rejected, “bad luck” is to follow the person. It is a silly superstition but many couples enjoy it. The Greeks used the plant in marriage ceremonies and it was associated with fertility. 

Christmas is a holiday with so many traditions spread all over the world. Now that you know the history behind some of these traditions that we follow each year, enjoy this Christmas with your family! Happy Holidays!


“History Christmas Trees.”, Historytm, 27 Oct. 2009,,candles%20if%20wood%20was%20scarce 

Kennedy, Lesley. “Who Invented Candy Canes.”, Historytm, 7 Dec. 2018,,Creche%20ceremony%2C%E2%80%9D%20Schildhaus%20says

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