History of Wreaths

Here at Sturbridge Yankee Workshop we have a wonderful assortment of permanent wreaths that will look lovely in your home all year long. While most of our wreaths contain faux greenery, many of them include naturally dried flowers or fruit or have a natural twig base.

Field Flower WreathBerry Blossom Wreath
For All Seasons

Wreath symbolism stems from a couple of sources. Most notably, the wreath is associated with the Advent season, or the "coming of Christ" in Christianity. Dating back hundreds of years, we see the first signs of what is now thought to be a traditional evergreen wreath. Evergreens can withstand the harshest of winters; making them a symbol of strength. What is known as the advent wreath signifies the four weeks of Advent. It holds candles that are lit individually each week, leading up to the Sunday before Christmas. This is where the circular shape of the wreath became synonymous with the eternal cycle of the seasons.

Black Fir Wreath With Orange Mini LightsBrighten Up

Obviously a more recent way to use a wreath in the home, lighted wreaths offer warm illumination and a little sparkle as pretty wall or door accents. Faux twigs, pine needles and pinecones arranged delicately give the effect of a homemade wreath. You can also make lighted wreaths a little more personal by adding ribbon, ornaments, Wooden Clip Birds and other unique items depending on the season, holiday or design of a room.

Lighted Feather WreathCountry Holiday Lighted Pine Wreath

Cultural Significance Around the World

Wreaths are used for ceremonial purposes and to signify the time of year or change in the season. In many parts of the world, an Advent wreath or an evergreen wreath has been used during notable ceremonies, both religious and cultural, as a headdress.

Wreaths can also represent such things as status, rank, occupation or various other achievements. In Greek Mythology, the small wreath that the Gods and Goddesses wore is referred to as a laurel wreath.

Cobweb WreathJingle Bell & Pinecone Wreath

Once Upon a Time

The story goes that Apollo fell in love with Daphne. Daphne didn't want the pursuit of Apollo, and asked for the help of Peneus, the River God. Peneus turned Daphne into a laurel tree, and as a motion for victory, Apollo wore a wreath of laurel on his head for all to see. Apollo's victory symbol worked its way into the ancient Olympic Games, worn after an achievement. Medals of the Olympic winners today have a sprig of Laurel engraved into the design. Julius Cesar later proclaimed that the laurel wreath is "to be a symbol of the supreme ruler."

Lavender Country Wreath

Red Hydrangea Wreath

Interesting Roots

Interestingly, the name wreath is derived from a middle English word, wrethe, meaning a twisted band or ring of leaves or flowers in a garland. The popular placement of holly berries on wreaths were done so for their supposed magical powers: they are a shiny berry that keeps its red color and bright green leaves throughout the winter.

Dried fruit or flowers were originally placed in a wreath to symbolize the promise of spring, and can still serve the same purpose today.

Full Circle

Today, we use many of the same decorative pieces to spruce up any wreath. Seashells, ornaments, pinecones and berries further enhance a wreath for year round display. Although some will say that wreaths are most popular at Christmas time, they have become a beautiful option for wall decor that can be used year round. Whenever you hang your wreath and wherever you choose to hang it, know that there is a deep history behind that circle.

Shoreline Wreath