GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. - Steve LaWarre from Frederik Meijer Gardens & Sculpture Park shows us some of the folklore and traditions seen throughout the Christmas and Holiday Traditions Around the World exhibition.
It's on display at the gardens now through Jan. 8, 2017.
Pine - All around the world, the various species of pine tree are cultural symbols. They are the subject of folklore and religion, and of stories and legends going back many centuries.
Holly - In ancient cultures, the Druids believed holly’s evergreen nature made it sacred and that it remained green throughout winter to keep the earth beautiful at a time when deciduous trees shed their leaves.
Rosemary - During the Middle Ages rosemary was spread on the floor at midnight on Christmas Eve so as people walked on it the fragrance would fill the air; this in the belief that those who smelled rosemary on Christmas Eve would have a year of health and happiness.
Mistletoe - According to some Christmas customs, believed to have originated with Norse legends, couples who meet under hanging mistletoe are obliged to kiss. Mistletoe was so sacred to the Druids that if two enemies met beneath a tree on which it was growing, they would lay down their weapons, exchange greetings, and observe a truce until the following day!
Olive Tree - The olive tree is an evergreen native to the Mediterranean Asia and Africa. Its wood is strong with beautiful grain and is prized for carving. The olive branch was often a symbol of abundance, glory and peace.
Other folklore examples:
Pickle Ornament – Germany
Mistletoe Ornament – England
Spider Ornament – Ukraine
Carved Olive Wood – Middle East
For more information: www.meijergardens.org
(© 2016 WZZM)