Christmas is one of the most special holidays of the year. It is the time when friends and family gather to show their appreciation for one another, celebrate the good times, and prepare for new beginnings. With the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, it isn’t surprising to see diverse traditions and practices during this time of the year.
While nativities and miniature Christmas villages are pretty common, there’s one decoration that is certain to raise some eyebrows: upside-down Christmas trees.
Upside-Down Christmas Trees: How an Eastern European Trend Found Itself Going Worldwide
Upside-down Christmas trees can be seen all around hotels, malls, and other public areas. Just this year, the Westfield Shopping Centre in San Francisco debuted a 50-foot-tall upside-down tree suspended inside the mall center. It may be a dizzying—and not to mention bizarre—sight, but somehow, it has become a trend around the country.
This new trend actually dates way back to the Middle Ages when Europeans first turned their Christmas trees upside-down to represent the Trinity. Others believe that upside trees come from the story of England’s St. Boniface. According to the legend, Boniface was left fuming after seeing pagans praise an oak tree. In a fit of rage, he chopped it down, but a fir tree sprang up on the same spot. Boniface used the triangular shape of the tree to describe the Holy Trinity.
Pagans who were converted during the twelfth century continued to use the tree as a symbol of God’s Trinity. It was hung upside down from ceilings in European households and was regarded as an important part of the Christmas season.
After some time, the Christmas trees were inverted to have the tip pointing to heaven, with many regarding upside-down trees as somewhat disrespectful or sacrilegious. Some Poles in Southern Poland, however, continue to hang spruce trees until today. They finish off the look with fruits, nuts, and sweets wrapped in shiny paper.
Other than Poland, upside-down trees are quite popular among Eastern Europeans including Ukrainians, Slovakians, and Russians.
While this idea may not be for anyone, it actually comes with a few benefits. Households with little children can now keep those precious ornaments away from those prying hands. At the same time, curious cats and dogs won’t be knocking off the decorations on your Christmas tree.
Below, take a look at some of the most beautiful upside-down Christmas trees this season.
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This Karl Lagerfeld-designed Christmas tree is a holiday dream come true
The massive inverted tree adorn the spectacular ceiling at the Westfield San Francisco Centre
What do you think of the upside down tree trend? Sound off in the comments below!