She’s been at it again, the clever Mrs L, with her felting hobby, making this lovely wreath from un-spun wool.
But where did the Christmas wreath tradition start, and where does the Robin fit in to the Christmas tradition?
The keeping of an Advent wreath is a common practice in homes or churches. The concept of the Advent wreath originated among German Lutherans in the 16th Century. However, it was not until three centuries later that the modern Advent wreath took shape. The modern Advent wreath, with its candles representing the Sundays of Advent, originated from an 1839 initiative by Johann Hinrich Wichern, a Protestant pastor in Germany and a pioneer in urban mission work among the poor. In view of the impatience of the children he taught as they awaited Christmas, he made a ring of wood, with nineteen small red tapers and four large white candles. Every morning a small candle was lit, and every Sunday a large candle. Custom has retained only the large candles.
And the history of Robins? – There are quite a few legends surrounding robins and their relation to Christmas and winter as a whole. For example, have you ever wondered why we see depictions of robins on everything from cards and wrapping paper, to Christmas jumpers and biscuit tins? The first legend takes us back to Victorian times, where the tradition of sending Christmas cards started. Royal Mail postmen, who wore bright red uniforms, delivered these cards. This earned them the nickname of ‘robin’ or ‘redbreast’. Artists usually illustrated Christmas cards with pictures relating to the delivery of letters, such as post-boxes or the postmen known as ‘robins’, and eventually started drawing the familiar little brown and red bird delivering letters instead of the postmen. This trend caught on and became very popular, and continues to this day, with many robin-themed items being seen on supermarket shelves during the festive period.