Thursday, December 3, 2015

The legend of the spider in the Christmas tree

Thursday, December 3, 2015
oldbearnews editor

A poor but hard-working widow once lived in a small hut with her children. One summer day, a pine cone fell on the earthen floor of the hut and took root. The widow's children cared for the tree, excited at the prospect of having a Christmas tree by winter. The tree grew, but when Christmas Eve arrived, they could not afford to decorate it. The children sadly went to bed and fell asleep.
Early the next morning, they woke up and saw the tree covered with cobwebs. When they opened the windows, the first rays of sunlight touched the webs and turned them into gold and silver. The widow and her children were overjoyed. From then on, they never lived in poverty again.

A variant of this story goes like this:

A long time ago in Germany, a mother was busily cleaning for Christmas. The spiders fled to the attic to escape the broom. When the house became quiet the spiders slowly crept downstairs for a peek. Oh what a beautiful tree!
In their excitement they scurried up the trunk and out along each branch. They were filled with happiness as they climbed amongst the glittering beauty.
But alas! By the time they were through climbing, the tree was completely shrouded in their dusty grey spider webs.
When Santa Claus came with the gifts for the children and saw the tree covered with spider webs, he smiled as he saw how happy the spiders were, but knew how heartbroken the mother would be if she saw the tree covered with the dusty webs. So he turned the webs to silver and gold. The tree sparkled and shimmered and was even more beautiful than before.

That's why we have tinsel on our tree and every tree should have a Christmas spider in it's branches !

The origins
of the folk tale are unknown, but it is believed to have come from either Germany or Ukraine.   In Germany, Poland, and Ukraine, finding a spider or a spider's web on a Christmas tree is considered good luck. Ukrainians also create small Christmas tree ornaments in the shape of a spider (known as pavuchky, literally "little spider"), usually made of paper and wire. They also decorate Christmas trees with artificial spider webs. The tradition of using tinsel is also said to be because of this story.

It may be based on an older European superstition about spiders bringing luck (though not black spiders in Germany),  or conversely that it is bad luck to destroy a spider's web before the spider is safely out of the way first.

Have fun

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