Have you ever heard of an upside down Christmas tree? I saw my first one several years ago in a wonderful Greek restaurant. I was amazed and intrigued. The owners came from the Eastern islands of Greece and told me this tree was their homeland’s custom.
This method of displaying a Christmas tree or Yule is from the medieval times and not a new fad. Although it is becoming more popular. Several stories connect Saint Boniface to the beginnings of the upside-down Christmas tree back in the 700’s.
He lived in Germany at the time and was sent by the pope to convert the pagans. As part of this conversion attempt, the saint cut down a pagan-revered oak tree: Donar’s sacred oak on Mount Guddenburg. When he wasn’t immediately struck by lightening for this transgression, the people were convinced their gods were false. The legend says when the oak fell, a fir tree grew immediately in its place.
Through Saint Boniface’s teaching, the new Christians thought of the fir tree as “God’s Trinity Tree,” due to the triangular shape.
First Upside-Down Trees During 12th Century
In Eastern Europe during the 12th century people began to hang the tree upside from the ceiling. These trees weren’t decorated until about three centuries later.
Decorations included food and fruits to represent abundance, and later nuts, sweets, ribbons, straw figures and colorful paper .
The upside down Christmas tree became a favorite among the Slavic nations.
These upside down Christmas trees are gained some popularity here in the states. One can purchase various sizes, pre-lit, and in white, green or gold from Target, Walmart, Home Depot and other stores or, of course, on-line for over $100-400. One gold colored, artificial, 7 foot, pre-lit, upside-down tree cost $849.
They may be hung from the ceiling, suspended with a bracket in the wall or set on a support for the tree’s top to sit on.
There are advantages to using an upside down Christmas tree.
Floor space is saved; fewer ornaments can be broken or played with by pets or children; the tree’s decorations can be placed and enjoyed at eye level; and there is more room for presents.
The one question I didn’t see an answer for was: Where do you put the star or the angel? Any ideas? Add your thoughts to the comments please!