Wreaths are made with flowers and leaves and sometimes fruit and
ribbons, woven into a ring to be hung on a door or wall or placed as an
ornamental centrepiece on a table. The tradition hails back to the time
of the Greeks and Romans when they were associated with the god Apollo,
god of the sun, life and health, and they became a symbol for victory
(think of Caesar's famous laurel wreath crown). The circular form
symbolises eternity and immortality. In the cold winter months, the use
of evergreen plants like pine, holly and yew acts as a further symbol
for the strength of life, which conquers even through the hardships of
inhospitable winters. Festive wreaths are sometimes embellished with
candles, a reminder of the sun that will return, and red berries and
pine cones which may traditionally signify the autumn harvest.
With such a rich tradition and symbolism behind it, hanging a festive
door wreath not only brightens up the dull winter days but has come to
act as a reminder of the spring to come and is thought to herald
contentment and good luck into the new year.