The Legend of the Christmas Spider

Decorating the Christmas tree is one of my favorite christmas traditions. In general decorating a Christmas tree involved lots of lights, brightly colored bulbs to hang up, and other Christmas ornaments in various shapes and sizes. The theme is usually pretty centered around Christmas, with decorations of rudolph and Santa Claus, but sometimes people like to add something a little different to their tree decorations. One example of this is the popular Christmas Pickle ornament, an ornament popular in the midwest that looks like…you guessed it, a pickle. But there are some even stranger ornaments that people often hang on their tree such as spiders.

You may have seen Christmas ornaments in the shape of spiders and even cobwebs hanging on people’s trees and wondered why a creature usually linked with Halloween is hanging on someone’s Christmas tree. While this seems rather strange and even a little creepy, the story behind the tradition of hanging a spider on your Christmas tree is actually quite heartwarming. The folktale attributed to this tradition is said to come from Ukraine or Germany. The legend is about a poor family consisting of a widowed mother and her two children that painstakingly uses an acorn to grow a Christmas tree. Unfortunately, while they had the tree, they were too poor to decorate it. On Christmas Eve the children go to bed crying, knowing that they will wake up to a bare tree on Christmas. This is where the spiders enter the scene.

The spiders that lived in the hovel with the family hear the crying of the family and decide to help however they can to decorate the tree for them. The spiders spun threads of silk into beautiful patterns and webs on the tree’s boughs. When the family woke the next morning, they opened the curtains, and saw their beautiful Christmas tree. As the sunlight hit the silken threads, they turned to silver and gold (this could also be the origin of the use of tinsel), and the family stared in awe at the radiant sight. They were said to have good fortune from that day on. People today decorate their trees with spider ornaments to bring good luck into the new year and remind them of nature’s bounty.

Have you ever seen a Christmas tree decorated with a spider ornament?

 

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