Why are the Christmas colours RED and GREEN?
Evergreen plants like Holly, Ivy and Mistletoe have been used for thousands of years to decorate and brighten up buildings during the long dark winter. They also reminded people that spring would come and that winter wouldn’t last forever.
The Romans would exchange evergreen branches during January as a sign of good luck, similarly to the four-leaf clover from the Irish. In addition, the ancient Egyptians used to bring palm branches into their houses during the mid-winter festivals.
In many parts of Europe during the middle ages, Paradise plays were performed, often on Christmas Eve. They told Bible stories to people who couldn’t read and often read the story of Adam and Eve. The ‘Paradise Tree’ in the garden of Eden in the plays was normally a pine tree (green) with red apple tied to it.
Today, the most common use of green at Christmas is Christmas Trees.
As mentioned above, an early use of red at Christmas was the apple of the Paradise Tree. They represented the fall of Adam in the plays.
Red is also the colour of Holly berries, which is said to represent the blood of Jesus when he died on the cross, contrasting his birth at Christmas.
Red is also the colour of Bishops robes which would have been worn by St. Nicholas and the also became Santa’s uniform.