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History of Holiday Hues

One of the most anticipated holidays of the year is just around the corner. Christmas will soon be finding its way into people’s homes and hearts as December 25th approaches. Decorating the house is a common way to embrace the holiday. Green and red will arise as the colors of the season. They are found throughout homes and help people embrace the Christmas spirit. But why are green and red known as the primary Christmas colors?

Ancient Celtic history presents one answer to this question. Although not for Christmas, green and red were used as the primary decorating colors for the winter solstice. Holly plants were considered to bring beauty and good fortune in winter. Because of this, ancient Celtics decked the halls with boughs of holly to ensure their luck. As a result, the tradition of using the red and green plants evolved into simply decorating with green and red as festive colors.

However, ancient Celtics are not the only reason that green and red are used as Christmas colors. Some Christians believe that the green and red hues are connected to Christ. They believe that from the holly wreath, the red berries are symbolic of the blood that was shed by Jesus, while the green leaves are the crown of thorns that he wore while on the cross.

Although Celtics and Christianity play roles in the green and red popularity, so does another surprising factor: Coca-Cola. A 1931 illustration of Santa dressed in a red similar to that of Coca-Cola’s was depicted to be delivering presents to children, drinking Coke, and surrounded by a border of green. The ad for the popular company ran for 33 years – until 1964. Although the drawing was used as an advertisement for Coca-Cola, it influenced much more. The colors and character in the drawing helped to solidify the already collective agreement that the green and red holly were colors to signify the Christmas season.

There are many holidays celebrated during the winter season, Christmas being one of them. Although many are used to seeing the familiar colors decorating the streets and houses, there is a rich history behind each color. And whether it is Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, or a different holiday celebrated in the household, the Hawk Herald staff wishes happy holidays to all!

Featured Image Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Works Cited (APA 7 Style)

Norris, R. (2019, October 29). Here’s the History Behind Why Red and Green Are the Traditional Christmas Colors. Country Living.

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