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Wreaths are a standard ornament during the winter season. They are made of evergreens and fir cones and have great symbolic importance. They are usually composed of assortments of flowers, leaves, fruits, twigs or various materials that are constructed to resemble rings, and they can be elaborate or simple. Most people, at least in English-speaking countries, use wreaths as Christmas decorations and to celebrate the birth of Christ.
Some cultures use wreaths for larger ceremonial purposes, to commemorate deaths or important victories. These wreaths symbolize strength, as the evergreen trees from which they are made can survive even the harshest of winters. Thus, a strong champion will receive accolades in the form of wreaths, such as at prestigious horse races.
There are harvest wreaths as well, which can look much different than Christmas wreaths. These have deep historical roots in Europe, stemming from times before good records were kept on their uses. These had symbolic importance for the harvest and various spiritual feelings as well as during the holiday season. Advent wreaths are the origin of Christmas wreaths, and they are the typical wreath that you will see on houses and doorways during the holiday season.
Funeral wreaths go back at least as far as advent wreaths and have a much deeper significance to many people. They were first used in ancient Greece at funerals. The strength of wreaths comes into play, with the power of memory and the eternal life of the spirit and achievement symbolized by the hardy evergreen. There are several other uses of wreaths, such as in the Christian religion as an ironic adornment on Jesus Christ on the Crucifix, as a sign of personal power and hegemony as when worn by an emperor or king, and of various political alliances.
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