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Wreaths and Garlands

History: Greek mythology tells the tale of Apollo, son of Zeus and god of life and light who fell in love with Daphne, a nymph. When she ran away, Apollo asked the river god Peneus for assistance in capturing her, so Peneus transformed Daphine into laurel tree. Apollo fashioned a crown from the laurel tree and wore it on his head. Wreaths were forever after associated with victory, achievement and status.

The use of circular bouquets dates back into antiquity. Ancient Egyptians made wreath chaplets by sewing flowers onto linen headbands and tying them onto their heads. Roman magistrates and Etruscan rulers wore golden wreaths as crowns. Wreaths were worn as adornments to signify a person's social status, rank and occupation.

Crowns of olive, pine, laurel, celery, or palm, were awarded to ancient Olympic games athletes and bestowed on poets and speakers or orators as prizes. Rome also bestowed laurel wreaths to civil officials and returning warriors to acknowledge their service.

Harvest wreaths are what we most commonly see for household decorations today most often during holiday seasons like Christmas or Chanukah when people wish to declare their holiday spirit. Wreaths can be woven from flowers, leaves, and foliage. Some artificial wreaths, when properly cared for, can beautify your home or front door for many years.

There are several different types of these festooned garlands:

Advent wreath, or Advent crown: symbolizes the passage of the four weeks of Advent. This type of wreath usually lays horizontally on a table top and contains four to five candles.

Funeral and memorial wreaths: The circle shape of a wreath is said to represent the circle of eternal life. Since ancient times, evergreen wreaths have been placed at burial sites to represent victory of the eternal spirit over death.

Maypole or May Day wreaths: are included in England's Maypole festivities when young bachelors race to climb the maypole to capture the coronet headdress perched on top of the pole. The winner wears this wreath as a crown for the entire length of the holiday celebration.

The color book wreaths on this page should be fine for children who want to contribute to the holiday decorating or write specially decorated letters to Santa. Print out as stationery or letterhead and write messages and letters to Santa or friends and relatives. Children can make photo frames by coloring or decorating these print outs and carefully cut out the center to replace with a photograph.

Enhance the images by adding little bells or sprinkles of glitter and bows here and there, or use to create Christmas wreath ornaments for the Christmas tree. String several different decorated images together to make garland wreaths or other holiday decorations. Kids can give these holiday wreaths as gifts to grandma and grandpa.