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Franc Hal Harrington, age 12, of Lansing, Michigan, for his question:

Why are Christmas colors green and red?

It's getting to be that time when we think of the symbols that go with the Christmas season. Most of them date back to ancient times, long before the first Christmas. In those days the peoples of Europe celebrated the mid winter festival around the shortest day of the year, which falls on or near December 21. Somehow the customs of this ancient festival were carried over to the Christmas season which starts a few days later.

The customs of the ancient mid winter festivals were related to nature. At this season many trees are bare. So boughs of conifers, holly and ivy were used to decorate the houses, no doubt as a reminder that the green springtime would return. In any case, many evergreens were loaded with red berries. The mid winter festival colors were green and red and it is thought that people later adopted them as the colors of Christmas.

 

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