I love my German inheritance from my Dad. So many wonderful traditions started in this beautiful country of his and one of my favourites is the Paradise (Christmas) tree. The earliest accounts of decorating an evergreen tree at Christmas time were recorded in Germany and in Liovonia in the 15th & 16th century.
The main prop of a popular medieval play about Adam and Eve was a fir tree hung with apples (paradise tree) representing the Garden of Eden. The Germans set up a paradise tree in their homes on December 24, the religious feast day of Adam and Eve. They hung wafers on it (symbolizing the host, the Christian sign of redemption); in a later tradition, the wafers were replaced by cookies of various shapes. Candles, too, were often added as the symbol of Christ.
I love this time of the year leading up to Christmas. In fact I love it more than the actual day itself sometimes. Today the local Lion International Winmalee club volunteers were selling Christmas trees. This only happens one day a year so it is a pretty special event. Every year I have driven past these guys and I have always wanted to stop and take some photos but being a wedding photographer I was always too busy heading off to a wedding. Well today I had no wedding, so after having my ‘cafe affair’ with my wife (this is special time out, that my wife and I treasure away from our kids for an hour or two, to have a cappuccino together in one of our favourite cafes up at Springwood) I rushed back home to grab my camera and snapped a few shots. I ended up talking to the guys for a little while. They have been doing this community service since 1986 (funny enough the same year I established my photography business). In their younger days these men would get up very early on a Saturday morning at 4am and drive up to Oberon, a town which is high up in our beautiful Blue Mountains and cut down the pine trees and load the truck and be back down in Winmalee ready to sell that same morning. These old fellas were so devoted to their service to our community. It was so lovely to take time out to talk to them.