Green, Red and Gold

There are several colours which are traditionally associated with Christmas- namely red, green and gold. Most the colours and their meanings come from the western/northern European traditions and customs, when Christmas is in the middle of winter and it’s dark and cold.

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!

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. The ‘Paradise Tree’ in the garden of Eden in the play was normally a pine tree with red apples tied to it.

Now the most common use of green at Christmas are Christmas Trees.

 

Red
As mentioned above, an early use of red at Christmas were the apples on 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.
Red is also the colour of Bishops robes. These would have been worn by St. Nicholas and then also became Santa’s uniform!

 

Gold
Gold is the colour of the Sun and light – both very important in the dark winter. And both red and gold are the colours of fire that you need to keep you warm.

Gold was also one of the presents brought to the baby Jesus by one of the wise men and traditionally it’s the colour used to show the star that the wise men followed.

Silver is sometimes used instead of (or with) gold. But gold is a ‘warmer’ colour.