Golden Ocala Celebrates Light Up The Night
Somehow the spectacle of light expressing itself in sprawling darkness conveys special meaning. The lighting of the Christmas tree, while a relatively new tradition in modern American history, heralds a very special season. We at Golden Ocala Golf & Equestrian Club are celebrating the occasion with a Light Up the Night ceremony Dec. 3.
The exclusive, members-only event begins at 6:30 p.m. at the clubhouse. Chef Rick Alabaugh will present an exquisitely crafted menu for fine dining and complimentary wine and non-alcoholic punch. (A member bar will also be available.)
Call 352-629-6229 for reservations.
The History of The Christmas Tree
Although mostly seen as a symbol of the Christian faith, the Christmas (or holiday) tree dates to before the advent of the faith, according to HISTORY.com. Plants and trees that remained green in the winter held special meaning for ancient people, who hung evergreen boughs over doors and windows. Some ancients believed evergreens kept away witches, ghosts, evil spirits and illnesses.
The shortest day and the longest night of the year is Dec. 21, called the winter solstice. The ancients believed the sun was a god and became sick and weak on that day. Solstice celebrations were meant to indicate the sun god would recover. The boughs served as a reminder that the sun god would once again get strong and summer would return.
The ancient Egyptians filled their homes with green palms to symbolize life’s triumph over death, marking solstice as the time when their god Ra began recovering from an illness.
The ancient Romans held a solstice feast to honor their god of agriculture, Saturn. Decorating their homes with evergreen was a sign that life would soon return to their farms and orchards.
The ancient Celts used evergreen boughs to symbolize everlasting life. The Vikings believed evergreens belonged to their sun god, Balder.
The German Christmas Tree
Historians believe 16th century Germans first began decorating their homes with Christmas trees. When wood was scarce, Germans built Christmas pyramids, which were decorated with evergreens and candles.
Protestant Christian reformer Martin Luther is credited with being the first to add candles to trees. The story goes that while walking home and composing a sermon, Luther was inspired by the bright stars with the evergreen landscape.
Most Americans of the 1800s viewed Christmas trees as symbols of pagan idolatry. German settlers to Pennsylvania erected community trees as early as 1747, according to HISTORY.com.
Near the end of the 19th century, the popularity of Christmas trees was beginning to rise as ornaments continued to arrive from Germany. Europeans at the time preferred trees four feet in height while Americans opted for floor-to-ceiling ones.
Early 20th century Americans used homemade decorations. German-Americans used apples, nuts and marzipan cookies. With the introduction of electricity, Christmas lights began appearing on trees. This led to lights being added to community trees in town squares. Soon after that, Christmas trees became an American tradition.