While it’s obvious the belen represents the first Christmas, you may be surprised to discover what the rest of your holiday decorations symbolize. Take our quiz and learn the secret meaning behind these Christmas symbols!
It’s the most wonderful time of the year, indeed!
#1 These symbolize Jesus as the Good Shepherd. Its colors also represent His blood and purity.
Invented in Germany more than 200 years ago, these treats were shaped into canes to represent the staffs of the shepherds from the first Christmas. Candy canes have also come to symbolize Jesus himself as the Good Shepherd, and the red and white stripes are said to represent His blood and purity.
#2 This represents man’s everlasting life with God
For hundreds of years, evergreen trees— which stand verdant even in blizzards— were used in pagan winter festivals before they were adopted by Christians to symbolize everlasting life with God. Since then, the Christmas tree has been embraced by cultures all over the world. And in 2004, Pope John Paul II paid tribute to it when he said, “The message of the Christmas tree, therefore, is that life is ‘ever green’ if one gives: not so much material things, but of oneself: in friendship and sincere affection, and fraternal help and forgiveness, in shared time and reciprocal listening.”
#3 This Christmas symbol is a modern-day incarnation of St. Nicholas, a bishop who is famous for his secret gift-giving to the poor.
Little children across the globe know the jolly man in the red suit, but not many know that Santa Claus is actually a modern-day incarnation of St. Nicholas, a bishop who lived in Asia Minor hundreds of years ago. Famous for his secret gift-giving, he was said to have saved three poor daughters by slipping dowries of gold coins through their window. As the legend goes, the sacks of coins landed in the pairs of stockings that were hanging by the window to dry, and the rest, as they say, is history.
#4 This symbol represents eternity, as it has no beginning and no end.
Traditionally made from evergreen branches, the wreath is round to represent eternity, as it has no beginning and no end. Branches of holly were added to remind us of the crown of thorns of Jesus, while its red berries help us recall how His blood was shed to save us. So next time you hang up a wreath, remember just how much you have to be grateful for!
#5 This symbolizes how hope, goodwill, and light can overcome darkness.
The iconic star synonymous with the Pinoy Christmas was first used during Spanish times to light the way of the faithful as they made their way to Simbang Gabi. Fashioned after the Star of Bethlehem, the parol was originally made of simple materials and was lit up by a candle. These days, competitions encourage parol designers to go all out in terms of creativity, and the once simple star has also come to symbolize how hope, goodwill, and light can overcome darkness.