Years back there was much more to Christmas than dazzling lights, scrumptious dinners, and Santa. Many decades ago, Christmas was also about oranges. It’s a festive ritual that adds a citrusy spark to the season, however, the meaning and tradition behind this costume, are more interesting than you might think. The story behind this is as rich and delightful as the fruit itself.
The sweet blend of oranges and Christmas goes back centuries and is associated with centuries-old traditions and symbolism. Way back in medieval Europe, where citrus fruits were considered luxurious and only the rich could afford them, seeing oranges in the winter months marked a rare and special treat. The golden balls which were shipped over from distant lands, instantly became associated with warmth, wealth, and the joy and glory of the holiday season. Fragrant pomanders were one of the most common things made with oranges at the time and a more recognized tradition is studding oranges with cloves, making intricate patterns and designs.
In the 19th century, oranges became more accessible as transportation became easier. Placing oranges in Christmas stockings became very popular, a tradition still accepted today. According to the legend, St. Nicholas left gold coins in the stockings of three poor sisters, so many families began placing oranges in stockings to represent the golden coins that were gifter.
There is much more to Christmas oranges than sweet flavor and vibrant color. According to Christian traditions, the oranges represent much more. They symbolize the light of Christ, which adds a spiritual layer to the festive fruit. In the Southern parts of the United States, the citrusy connection with Christmas took on a regional twist with the introduction of citrus groves. Oranges became a staple crop, and the tradition of receiving oranges during the holidays became deeply ingrained in Southern Christmas celebrations. Today, many Southerners still fondly remember the excitement of finding fresh oranges in their Christmas stockings.
The story behind oranges and Christmas has a deep and rich history behind it as we can see there is more to the citrus delight than we ever knew. It can adorn a Christmas tree, fill stockings, or decorate the table for a holiday feast. The presence of oranges during this special time of year brings a burst of freshness and joy to the season and makes the orange such a prestige and exquisite fruit.