The traditional folk song that most in America know as “O Christmas Tree,” in fact, celebrates the unwavering fidelity that Germans apparently once associated with fir trees.
As you may have guessed, tannenbaum is the German word for a fir. The song’s melody in based on an old folk tune that dates back more than 500 years. The lyrics were penned in 1824 by composer Ernst Anschütz—who was, in turn, inspired by a love song in which the proud evergreen is presented as symbol of faithfulness.
As the popularity of Christmas trees grew in the 1800s, so too did the popularity of Anschütz’s song as a holiday favorite.
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