December holiday traditions

Where did they originate?

Blaney Rowe, Reporter

With the holiday season approaching many traditions that have been passed down for generations are starting up but do you ever wonder where these traditions come from?

Christmas trees:
Long before Christianity emerged, evergreen trees were used to decorate homes during the winter months, and people believed they kept evil spirits and illness away. Many early civilizations had festivals honoring a god or goddess that used evergreen trees as symbols of their appreciation. However, it was the Germans who were credited with the tradition of using evergreen trees as Christmas trees. More specifically, Martin Luther, a protestant reformer, started putting candles in an evergreen tree during the Christmas season.

Giving Money at Chinese New Year:
The tradition of giving money in a bright, red envelope originated from a legend about a demon, called Sui. Sui would terrorize children on Chinese New Year while they were asleep, and the legend goes that one night the parents of a young boy gifted him eight coins to entertain him so he would stay awake, but he fell asleep. Sui then came to terrorize him but the coins, which were actually magic, protected the boy. Now every year at Chinese New Year children are given money in a red envelope which symbolizes good luck for the new year.

New Years Resolutions:
New Year’s resolutions can be traced back to the time of the ancient Romans. Each year people would pray to the god Janus, the god of beginnings, and vow to commit to something throughout the year. By the Great Depression about 25% of adults participated in New Year’s resolutions and by the 21st century about 40 to 50% of adults participated in New year’s resolutions. Studies have shown that people who commit to something in the beginning of the year are 46% more likely to finish it than people who commit to something other times in the year!