The Roots of the Christmas Tree
The ancient Egyptians, who worshipped the sun god Ra, thought green palm rushes symbolized triumph over death. The Romans worshipped the god of agriculture, Saturn, with a festival called Saturnalia, during which they would decorate their temples and homes with fir trees and evergreen boughs. The Druid priests of the ancient Celts also adorned their temples with evergreen boughs, believing them to symbolize everlasting life. The Vikings of Scandinavia worshipped a sun god called Balder and considered the evergreens to be his special plant. However, the tradition of decorating a tree in Christian celebrations is thought to have begun in Germany during the sixteenth century, though Latvia and Estonia both claim to be the location of the first Christmas trees.