DROPPIN CANDLE KNOWLEDGE: Merry Christmapple ~ Apple Scents for the Holidays?


So we've had quite a few apple scents for the holidays over the years and occasionally I've heard people complain about it - why are there apple scents in winter...apples are for fall...apples are transitional...I don't need apple scents for Christmastime

Here's the things guys, there is a reason...apples has ALWAYS been associated with Christmastime.

As you (should) know...most of our traditions for Christmas come straight from pagan Europe. We've heard of a day called the Winter Solstice - the first official day of winter and the longest night of the year. Long before Christmas was even a thought in anyone's heads, the Winter Solstice was a big deal and a day worth celebrating..basically getting your party on before it's gets all crazy cold and dark for several months. In Germany, folks celebrated Yule (you know, as in "Yuletide" which was a 12 day extravaganza (as in "The 12 days of Christmas). Bonfires (and Yule logs)  would be lit, songs would be sung, neighbors and families would toast each with ....CIDER...also known as "wassailing" and kids would carry out clove spiked oranges ("pomanders...the main note of the classic Slatkin scent Winter) and APPLES, both symbolizing the sun. Everything would decorated with things from nature known to withstand the wintry elements - mainly ivy, holly and mistletoe, garlands and boughs symbolizing eternal life (this was also practiced in other civilizations and cultures). Eventually evergreen trees started getting decorated as well - most gods were associated with a tree and out of all the growing things in nature, evergreen/pine trees were big mamma-jammas who withstood all of what winter brought..and they were decorated with late hanging...APPLES. Because of red apples and berries along with green ivy, pine trees and mistletoe..well I think you already know where I'm heading.

Eventually Christian bigwigs were "yeah this is cool...but we're gonna put our Christian funk on this." which began the tradition of Christmas. Back in the early days, the holiday was nowhere what it is now; if anything it was more like Mardi Gras - people in masks singing, dancing, drinking and humping...which obviously didn't make the powers that be in the Church very happy and were all like "you bitches are having too much fun..God hates fun!" So the holiday became more solemn. There was even an attitude that Christmas should abolished...who gives a holy crap about Jesus' birthday..supposed birthday (technically he was born sometime in the spring) , it's his excruciating death that's more important. So Christmastime became more holy and secular. One popular thing during this time were mystery plays..think every Biblical movie on the Hallmark channel during Christmas and Easter..but done in real life on a stage for several hours cuz people really don't have much else to do in their free time but stand and watch people act out Bible stories for several hours. Usually the set always consisted of one thing...a tree..decorated with..you guessed it..APPLES. The apple laden pine tree once dedicated to the gods and oncoming winter now symbolized the Tree of Paradise/Knowledge in the garden of Eden.

The Christmas tree as we know it didn't really come to be until around the 16th century. The trees would be decorated with wax candles (Christmas lights), little toys and trinkets, nuts, pastries and yes..APPLES. But the Christmas tree tradition really didn't kick off until the 18th century; by then countries and cultures all over Europe started decorating trees. However we have Queen Victoria for really putting Christmas trees on the map. As a little girl, a German born relative of hers introduced Christmas trees to the court and it blew Victoria's little mind. As an adult when she married Albert (who was German...and her cousin), she decided by royal decree that Christmas trees had to be a thing. News traveled across the Atlantic to the US and America lost their shit. Any trend in Europe had to be good so Christmas trees became a thing in America as well. Eventually our society became more city-fied and industrial and the more rustic and antiquated aspects of tree decorations got an upgrade - wax candles became strings of lights, trickets became figurines and apples became glass and eventually plastic balls. But apples weren't completely gone from the picture; garlands and wreaths and trays would be decorated with apples but more for aesthetic reasons than cultural or religious ones.

All that said, apples are not just a fall thing nor is it a transitional thing - it is ever much a part of the recipe of Christmas as pine trees, mistletoe and holly. And the Christmas scents whether it's BBW or Yankee, etc, reflect this sort of forgotten aspect of the Christmas tradition - from spiced apples to warm cider to apples hanging on a tree or wreath or bough, apples are part of the reason for the season!

1 comment:

  1. Growing up, all of us kids were given apples and oranges at Christmas at my church as a stocking gift, so I've always associated apples with the holidays. Never knew that info about how the Christmas colors came about. Awesome, thanks for the history lesson.

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