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  noun 1. The act of immersing oneself in other cultures without crossing national borders. 2. Local cultural diversification. 3. Traveling on a budget. 4. A website that will allow you to accomplish all the above from the very seat in which you sit.

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20.12.09

Pagan Europe: border hopping, and how a tree did just that

A Western Christmas is not complete without a certain green, pine-scented masterpiece in every home. But where, many of us wonder, does this idea come from?

To start, well, it should be no surprise that Mary and Joseph did not decorate a tree upon the birth of Jesus. The holiday's origin is largely based on the pagan celebration of the Winter Solstice. Winter... trees... we're getting somewhere, right?

But what of the all the tree's glitz?



With it's shining lights...



glittering balls



angels agleam



ornaments glittering



bells aringing?

Well, it's is a tradition perhaps mythical. In the harsh season of winter, food was scarce for the ancient pagans. The bulbous ornaments, often fruit-shaped, symbolize the harvest hoped to come next year. The tree itself is an evergreen: eternal life. And its origin?

According to Christian legend, the first tree was cut down and celebrated by Saint Boniface in Germany.


K├Ąthe Wohlfahrt (Christmas Store), Rothenburg au de Tauber, Germany

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