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The long Christmas tree in the Christian world | Religion

Among the annual festivals in New York at this time of year is for the whole family to visit the Christmas Tree at the Rockefeller Center. The only issue is that getting to the nearest point is a well-known Herculean work.

From the time it was set for early December – this year was Wednesday, December 1 – until Christmas Day, the tree area was flooded with New Yorkers and visitors, making it difficult if it was impossible to get close. same price.

Locals soon find that visitors find their way to the tree using their Google Maps app and regularly enter the area from Fifth Avenue, which is why the door is so crowded. Therefore, locals who know the area pass through side and side streets to find a better angle to the glorious tree, and take their annual photo with family and friends ahead of it to send to those far away.

What is this strange ritual (not all rituals and magic?) And what does it mean? Above the Christmas tree is a symbol of the Christian morality of this city and this country. But isn’t it?

The White House also has its own so-called “National Christmas Tree” which was launched on December 2 this year. But in New York City, the price has many meanings – and no one is responsible for setting the rules that the price means. What exactly are those meanings?

Have all of us – Jews, Muslims, Hindus, atheists, atheists, witch doctors, and others – become Christians or has the same Christmas tree had different meanings? The tree is stable with all its bright bulbs, and has become a floating symbol.

The tree reminds me – one of billions of non-Christians – about my late mother, a devout Shia Muslim, visiting the holy Shia shrine Ali ibn Mahziar Ahvazi in our village. In the courtyard of the house, there was a beautiful tree on which the local worshipers hung their “dakhil.” Dakhil is a cloth that people hang from tree branches to make dreams come true – the right boy for their daughter, the faithful bride for their son, success in their spouse’s business, healing a relative’s illness, pregnancy. for a little cousin … The bulbs and Christmas decorations on the Rockefeller Center tree always remind me of those dakhils.

We all look at the same tree, but we see different things.

After religion or after Christianity?

The origin of the modern tree at the peak of Christmas holidays is probably the Roman Saturnalia – or ancient pagan tradition – which was eventually converted to Christianity in Europe. The immigrants to Germany believe that they brought a symbolic object to the US (the early separatist Christians strongly opposed the idea). For immigrant Christians, the tree was a remnant of their ancient homeland that was planted again in their adopted land. The tree eventually became an image of Christ himself.

Today, people continue to see in the tree portions of their memorial history, places that were abandoned or banned. These symbols, which began as the pagan images of pre-Christian times, have now become a symbol of post-Christian tradition – part of what American sociologist Robert Bellah called “the religion of the people.”

Today millions of New Yorkers and tourists visit this tree without regard for its Christian symbols and dance on the ice as if they were participating in pagan rituals outside of any religious tradition.

The Christmas tree today is so large that it is almost impossible to find a Christian home in the world or in the world around us.

In his philosophical remarks, After Christianity (2002) the famous Italian philosopher Gianni Vattimo disproves how through the later Christian philosophies of Friedrich Nietzsche and Martin Heidegger he, in fact, rediscovered his Christianity for a new millennium. But is that what is called post-Christian Christianity, or is it secular philosophy of the post-Christian world? Vattimo seems to think that secularism is a delusion or a Christian fulfillment. But the concept alone is of great Christian importance to Jews or Muslims – whereas the concept of “religion” is a completely new concept.

Tall Trees East and West

If we let go of all the worries of Christianity and its worldly ideas, relying on any religion that has all its claims, the trees have magic, grace and power of their own.

Take the Abarkuh Cypress tree in Iran – named because it is in Abarkuh in the Yazd region of Iran. The cypress tree is believed to be 4,000 to 5,000 years old, the second oldest tree after the Methuselah tree in California. Legend has it that Zoroaster planted it – and this tree is sometimes called the Zoroastrian cypress.

There is a vague narrative of this legend in “Ombra mai fu”, also known as “Largo of Xerxes”, the opening scene of the opera George Frideric Handel Serse (1738), in which Xerxes I sings his favorite song. :

There was no shadow
of each plant
lovely and very handsome,
or more sweet.

Leaves green and green
about my beloved airline price,
let Fate smile at you.
Dealing with thunderstorms, lightning, and hurricanes
do not disturb the peace of your beloved,
and do not be polluted by the wind.

Long ago and long after the play of Handel, in ancient Persian poetry, the cypress tree (Sarv) has always represented the equivalent of a gracious lover. The origin of such imagery is pre-Islamic, because, in the Zoroastrian sacred texts that eventually produced Persian poetry, examples of sacred cypress are believed to have gone from paradise by Zoroaster to King Goshtasp to celebrate his conversion to Zoroastrianism. . But in the larger and more diverse range of Persian poetic words, the cypress tree has a number of similarities, one that cannot be compared with Islam or Zoroastrianism. The tree had begun to produce its own metonymic symbol.

For the theology of eco-liberation

In the face of the current climate crisis, trees – cypress or not – have a different meaning. The ecological threats to deforestation and desertification have threatened the very existence of life on the planet. Here any religious meaning that exists or is thought to have Zoroastrian, Jewish, Christian or Islamic traditions celebrated around these trees should be devoted to the natural power of all living things.

As a result, trees have now taken on a more natural meaning, adornment and poetry than any other religious symbol that they may still cite. Two famous Iranian artists, Sohrab Sepehri and Abbas Kiarostami, a poet and filmmaker, were intrigued by the prices. The root of all such curiosity can be traced to Masnavi’s poetic passage, where Rumi celebrates the intoxication of the universe and finally turns to the trees as he rests in the winter and tells his readers, you can imagine this winter. all the trees are dry and smooth, but they assure the earth:

You may think in winter that the garden is not drunk,

Do not be deceived by these intoxicating liquor,

The roots of these trees drink in secret

You just wait a little longer until spring when the drunks wake up!

From the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree to the Handel opera, Arostami paintings and Sepehri poetry to Roman art, a group of stargazers all come together to discover the planetary culture beyond the limits of our neglect of the beat but patient and beautiful. Mother Earth.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Al Jazeera.

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