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The Colors of Christmas: Red, Green and Gold

Have you ever wondered why red, green and gold are generally considered as the colors of Christmas? Why not orange, purple and blue or some other colors?

Well, after searching high and low, deep and wide, it appears that the acceptance of red, green and gold as the Christmas colors has both historical and religious origins.

The Colors of Christmas

The Colors of Christmas

The Origin of Christmas Colors

There are two accepted beliefs about the origin of the Christmas colours, red, green and gold. One is based on Christian tradition, and the other based on historical fact.

Since the early part of the historical fact came before the Christian tradition, this will be explained first below.

photo courtesy of WDC

photo courtesy of WDC

Pre-Christian Historical Basis of the Green Color of Christmas

Long before Christ was born; green has already been considered as a powerful symbol of mystery and life.

People observed that long after other plants have died during the winter, fir trees and holly bushes have remained evergreen. So they thought that something magical must be making these trees and bushes survive the harshest of winters. These plants were thus worshipped and feared at the same time. From then on, they have come to be associated with the mystery of life and green became the color of life.

the-colors-of-christmas-red-green-and-gold

Historical records show that the Romans wove wreaths of holly and hang these on their walls and doors to celebrate the winter solstice. These wreaths show that they are looking forward to the "rebirth" of the sun and the return of warmer weather.

Only the color green has pre-Christian origin. The other Christmas colors, red and gold became significant only after the birth of Christ.

Christian Tradition and the Red and Green Colors of Christmas

At around the 4th Century when the church began to celebrate Christ's birth on December 25, many Christians who have adorned their homes with wreaths of holly for the winter solstice, just left the wreaths to decorate their homes during Christmas as well. Thus, the color green and wreaths of holly became associated with the birth of Christ.

If green represents the birth of Christ, red represents the blood of Christ and his death. People at this time also took to adding red berries on their green wreaths of holly. This made the wreaths more eyecatching.

Thus red and green has become associated with the celebration of Christ's birth, death and rising from the dead.

the-colors-of-christmas-red-green-and-gold
the-colors-of-christmas-red-green-and-gold

Centuries later, churches started presenting religious plays to help educate the public.

On December 24, churches presented "The Paradise Play", the story of Adam and Eve. Since apple trees are not available during this time of the year, pine trees were used and red apples were hanged on the trees. From then on, pine trees with red apples decorating them have come to be associated with the Christmas season and people started bringing this tree tradition to their homes.

the-colors-of-christmas-red-green-and-gold

The Gold Color of Christmas

Since decorating pine trees with red apples and hanging wreaths of holly with red berries became a Christian tradition, another color was added to give even more significance to this tradition. This additional color is, gold. It represents the gift of gold from one of the Three Kings. It also signifies the gift of eternal life.

the-colors-of-christmas-red-green-and-gold

Cultural Significance of Red, Green, and Gold

Red

Red has different meanings in different cultures. Its meaning can range from health, anger, bravery, love, passion, sacrifice, danger, and courage. But its Christmas meaning is the blood of Christ.

Green

Like red, green also has different cultural meanings. It can represent fertility, hope, and environmentalism on the positive side. However, it also has negative connotation such as poison, evil, envy and even death. Still during Christmas, green is the symbol of birth and life that remains vibrant even under harsh conditions.

Gold

Gold like red and green, also has both positive and negative cultural meanings. Gold or its base color yellow, can mean both bravery or cowardice. It can also mean both life and sickness. However, its Christmas meaning is that of the richness of eternal life.

the-colors-of-christmas-red-green-and-gold

The Other Colors of Christmas

Modern Christmas celebrations now use other colors like blue, silver, purple and just about any of the other rainbow colors. However the predominant colors of Christmas are still red, green and gold.

Blue inspired Christmas decor

Blue inspired Christmas decor

the-colors-of-christmas-red-green-and-gold

Red, Green and Gold: The Colors of Christmas

The colors of Christmas are best represented by the following lines from a popular song, "Silver Bells":

"...Strings of street lights
Even stop lights
Blink a bright red and green...."

Yes, the colors of Christmas are actually embodied in our street lights that blink red and green and of course gold or yellow for caution.

My Other Color Hubs

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Yellow Is My-Favorite-Color-Whats-Yours

What-Color-Is-Your-Sunset?

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I-Recommend-Going-Green-With-Ferns

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Red - Green Calendar

the-colors-of-christmas-red-green-and-gold

Comments

jill of alltrades (author) from Philippines on September 08, 2014:

Hello favored,

I'm happy that you enjoyed reading this. Thanks very much!

God bless!

jill of alltrades (author) from Philippines on September 08, 2014:

Hello DealforALiving,

Thanks so much for dropping by and leaving an inspiring comment!

God bless!

Nick Deal from Earth on September 08, 2014:

Very interesting and will share with some friends during the holiday season.

Fay Favored from USA on September 07, 2014:

Enjoyed reading about the traditions and meanings of the colors of Christmas. Pinning it to my Christmas board.

jill of alltrades (author) from Philippines on November 25, 2013:

Hello brittany,

So sorry for this very late reply. I have not visited HP for a while. Thank you so much for dropping by and leaving a wonderful message. Yes, Christmas indeed bring family and friends closer together!

God bless! Hope you have a great Christmas!

brittany on November 12, 2013:

I love Christmas because of family and friends

jill of alltrades (author) from Philippines on February 01, 2012:

Hello Vixen,

It's so nice of you to drop by and leave a comment even if it's past Christmas. Yes, February is here but any comment is always welcome! I'm happy that you found this interesting and informative.

Thank you very much for inspiring me!

God bless!

VendettaVixen from Ireland on January 26, 2012:

I missed this hub at Christmas, but I enjoyed it so much that I thought I'd leave a comment, even though we'll be heading into February soon.

It was incredibly interesting and informative, and answered questions I've often asked myself.

Thanks for taking the time to research this topic and to put your findings together in such an attractive way.

Best wishes,

Vixen.

jill of alltrades (author) from Philippines on December 24, 2011:

Hello PDX,

Thanks for coming back! I really appreciate it!

See you around!

Have a Merry Christmas!

God bless!

Justin W Price from Juneau, Alaska on December 22, 2011:

true, jill, and you're welcome

jill of alltrades (author) from Philippines on December 20, 2011:

Hi James,

Thank you very much!

God bless!

james on December 14, 2011:

cool

jill of alltrades (author) from Philippines on December 11, 2011:

Hello Drekahn,

Thanks for dropping by!

God bless!

drekahn on December 06, 2011:

hello

jill of alltrades (author) from Philippines on November 30, 2011:

Hello SanneL,

I'm happy that you learned something from this hub.

I'm the one who should thank you for taking time to visit and leave a beautiful comment. It's really my pleasure to share what I know and love to do!

Your comment makes everything worthwhile!

Thank you!

God bless!

SanneL from Sweden on November 30, 2011:

Now I know why the colors red, green and gold are significant for Christmas!

Thank you for this very interesting and informative Christmas hub!

jill of alltrades (author) from Philippines on November 16, 2011:

Hello PDX,

I'm happy that you found this interesting.

Well, we are not just copiers, we are also innovators!

Thanks so much for your visit and wonderful comment!

God bless!

Justin W Price from Juneau, Alaska on November 15, 2011:

interesting and fascinating! it is quite interesting how many ideas and songs Christian adopted form pagan tradition. We humans are certainly copiers!

jill of alltrades (author) from Philippines on November 05, 2011:

Hello Modern Greetings,

Thanks very much for your visit and wonderful comment! Thanks especially for the vote up!

God bless!

Modern Greetings on November 04, 2011:

Great hub. I've always wondered why red, green, and golds were always so perfect for the christmas holiday. I think it has something to do with winter being so bleak and dull. It's a quick infusion of color and life during the time of celebration. Voted up!

jill of alltrades (author) from Philippines on October 20, 2011:

Hello Certified Gold,

I'm happy that you love this hub! Thank you very much!

You are most welcome, the pleasure is all mine!

God bless!

Certified Gold on October 13, 2011:

Great job Jill! Love your Hub! Thank you!!

jill of alltrades (author) from Philippines on February 08, 2011:

Hi Denise,

That's great. Okay, I'll check which of our hubs can be linked.

Thanks!

God bless!

Denise Handlon from North Carolina on February 06, 2011:

Hi No problem Jill if you want to link some of our hubs. Let me know.

jill of alltrades (author) from Philippines on February 06, 2011:

Hi Denise,

It's great to see you again!

It must be the spirit of Christmas floating around then. Maybe we hit on the idea at the same time. I think we should really link up some of our hubs. We seem to be in the same wavelength. What do you think?

Thanks very much for appreciating my work.

God bless!

Denise Handlon from North Carolina on February 05, 2011:

Interesting hub. You and I were on a similar wavelength during this festive time. I wrote a hub about the colors and smells of Christmas called 'a very sensory Christmas'. I love your color hubs. :)

jill of alltrades (author) from Philippines on January 02, 2011:

Hi Becky,

Thanks very much for dropping by and leaving a heartwarming comment.

All the best to you this New Year!

God bless!

Becky from Oklahoma on January 02, 2011:

Interesting information on the colors of Christmas. Love the pictures too. Thanks for sharing.

jill of alltrades (author) from Philippines on January 01, 2011:

Hi James,

It's good to see you!

I'm Happy to know that you learned something from me. It's usually the other way around.

Thanks for the lovely comment James!

God bless! Happy New Year!

James A Watkins from Chicago on January 01, 2011:

Thank you for educating me about the colors of Christmas. I had no idea where they came from and so, I have learned a great deal from you. This is something I love. :-)

jill of alltrades (author) from Philippines on December 18, 2010:

Hello Skye,

Thanks very much for your heartwarming comment. I really appreciate it. It's my pleasure to share what I know and what I love doing.

Now, I'm also learning from you. I did not know about the evergreen tree representing the human body. Thank you very much for sharing this.

God bless!

skye2day from Rocky Mountains on December 14, 2010:

jill of all trades Beautiful pictures my Friend. Awesome work. i just love your colors. Thank you for sharing the meaning of the colors with the world. I know I did not know and now I do. You again put together a beautiful piece of work. In His name Jesus Christ

FYI The evergreen tree in Scripture Jesus speaks of represents the human body. (the curvature of the spine)

jill of alltrades (author) from Philippines on December 11, 2010:

Hi Clare,

Thank you very much! Yes red, green and gold really go well together for this Christmas season.

Thanks for your visit and comment!

Clare on December 10, 2010:

I personally think that red, green and gold are nice. They have a nice color combination.

jill of alltrades (author) from Philippines on December 09, 2010:

Hello daydreamer,

Thank you very much!

I appreciate very much your visit and comment.

God bless!

daydreamer13 on December 08, 2010:

Interesting! Well done!

jill of alltrades (author) from Philippines on November 29, 2010:

Hi Carol (Coffeesnob),

It's always a joy to see you!

Thanks very much for being so supportive of my work. You truly are an inspiration to me.

May the spirit and colors of Christmas brighten your life.

God bless you friend!

coffeesnob on November 29, 2010:

Jill,

As usual you have decorated your hub with beuatiful pictures and excellent commentary. I always enjoy being here and have missed so many -- much catching up to do...one day :p

God bless

Carol

jill of alltrades (author) from Philippines on November 29, 2010:

Hi Pinkdaisy,

You are absolutely right! Christmas wouldn't be the same without the colors red, green and gold!

Thanks very much for dropping by and leaving a wonderful comment!

Have a Merry Christmas too!

jill of alltrades (author) from Philippines on November 29, 2010:

Hello Wilsontom,

Thanks very much for your lovely comment!

I wish you a colorful Christmas like this.

God bless!

pinkdaisy from Canada on November 28, 2010:

I love the Christmas colors of red, gold and green. Christmas wouldn't be the same without them.

Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas!

wilsontom from new delhi on November 28, 2010:

This is really a cool hub, i always wanted to make my Christmas also like all this.

Thanks for sharing.

jill of alltrades (author) from Philippines on November 28, 2010:

Hi De Greek,

Oh, that's great! Christmas is really the best time here in the Philippines.

Thanks for dropping by and leaving a wonderful comment.

God bless!

De Greek from UK on November 27, 2010:

I truly love Christmas in The Philippines :-)

jill of alltrades (author) from Philippines on November 25, 2010:

Hi Cvanthul,

Thanks very much for your lovely comment.

God bless!

Cristina Vanthul from Florida on November 25, 2010:

Nice hub, Jill, very informative and interesting.

jill of alltrades (author) from Philippines on November 24, 2010:

Hi Fossillady,

Nice to see you!

Thank you too. The pleasure is really mine. I love sharing what I discover and learn.

God bless!

Kathi Mirto from Fennville on November 24, 2010:

I love learning about the origin of traditions. Very intereting. Thanks jill of alltrades

jill of alltrades (author) from Philippines on November 23, 2010:

Hi Green Lotus,

It's so nice to see you again!

Thank you very much for your wonderful comment and colorful wishes.

I wish you a bright and happy Christmas too!

God bless!

Hillary from Atlanta, GA on November 23, 2010:

Your hubs are always so luminous...especially this season! Have a very happy holiday filled with bright and colorful things.

jill of alltrades (author) from Philippines on November 23, 2010:

Hello Angarastone,

Thanks very much for your visit and lovely comment. I visited your website before. You got really beautiful pieces there.

Thanks again!

God bless!

jill of alltrades (author) from Philippines on November 23, 2010:

Hi Anglnwu,

Your visits and comments always make me happy. You do have a way with words that make whatever you say extra special.

Thank you very much dear friend.

Everyday, one of the tv stations here has a countdown to Christmas and I feel so late in my preparations already. So Christmas is just around the corner and not so far off at all.

God bless you!

jill of alltrades (author) from Philippines on November 22, 2010:

Hi Sam,

It's nice to see your smiling face!

Thanks very much for your wonderful comment and vote up. You are a great friend!

Blessings to you too!

jill of alltrades (author) from Philippines on November 22, 2010:

Hi Carrie,

I love Christmas too - its colors, smell, sounds, weather, and of course spirit.

Thanks very much for being the first one here! Your comment makes me happy!

God bless!

anglnwu on November 22, 2010:

Thanks for explaining--we take the colors of Christmas for granted and now, I know why they were chosen. I love your pictures of Christmas ornaments. Rated beautiful. Have a Merry Christmas--i know, it's seem like a long way off but we before we know it, it's here.

Sam from Tennessee on November 22, 2010:

voted up and beautiful! As usual a most beautiful hub, particularly enjoyed your multiple page breaks, the brackets of the 'Crown of Thorns' plant. Most unique.

Happy Holidays, Jill and blessings...

carrie450 from Winnipeg, Canada on November 22, 2010:

Nice hub Jill. I love the colors of Christmas. It's the best time of the year.

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