During the Christmas season it is not uncommon to see many decorations in green and red. Green and red are easily recognized as the colors of Christmas. Everything from tinsel and decorations to wrapping paper can be found in Christmas colors. There are two prevailing argument as to why red and green are used as Christmas colors and both have had an impact on the use of the colors during the Christmas season.
Red and green adopted from pagan celebrations
Many cultures prior to the birth of Christ used green as symbol of life. During harsh winters they would cut down evergreen trees to keep in their houses as a way of symbolizing that life still exists in the cold and harsh of winter. Roman people would hang wreaths of holly on their doors and walls to welcome back the sun in a festival known as natalis solis invicti (“birth of the invincible sun.”) This was celebrated in December 25th every year. Other pagan holidays also contributed to the use of green and red. The festival of Yule used the colors of red, green and gold.
Red and green as symbols of a savior
After the death of Christ many Christians began to celebrate his birth on the 25th of December. They incorporated many of the traditions that they already knew of into their Christmas celebrations. Holly wreaths from the celebration of natalis solis invicti were used and red berries were added. The use of the evergreen tree to decorate houses also remained. Green still symbolized life, but with an added meaning of eternal life. Red berries, apples and other items were added to symbolize the blood that was shed by Jesus.