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Aaron’s Rod : The Victorian practice of hanging sugared nuts on a Christmas tree was bursting with Biblical symbolism.
Aaron’s Rod

From Elfric of Eynsham’s Sermon on the Nativity, translated from Old English by Benjamin Thorpe.

Victorian Christmas celebrations included hanging nuts, typically sugared almonds, on the tree. This symbolic gesture goes back to a Christian interpretation of a passage from Numbers, which was known in England as long ago as the 10th century.

THE maidenhood of Mary was manifoldly betokened in the old law.*

God bade Moses, the leader, take twelve dry rods from the twelve tribes of the people of Israel, and lay them before the holy ark within the great tabernacle: and he would by those rods declare whom he had chosen for bishop.** Then, on the second day, Aaron's rod was found growing with boughs, and blowing, and bearing nuts.

Verily the dry rod, which was not planted in the earth, nor clothed with any rind, nor with sap quickened, and yet grew, and blew, and bare nuts, betokened the blessed Mary, who had no society of man, and yet bare the Living Fruit, who is the true Bishop and the Redeemer of our souls.

* See Numbers 17.

** That is, as High Priest of the people of Israel. The word ‘bishop’ basically means ‘overseer’, one who watches over the congregation.

From Elfric of Eynsham’s Sermon on the Nativity, translated from Old English by Benjamin Thorpe.

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Picture: © Fabio Straniero, Wikimedia Commons. Licence: CC-BY-SA 2.0. View original
‘Confetti’, a basket of sugared almonds and other sweets traditionally presented at weddings in Italy. Candied almonds and other brightly coloured sweets were also a traditional part of Christmas tree decorations in Victorian times, symbolising the birth of Jesus Christ to a virgin mother, as Abbot Elfric explains.
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Based on a sermon by
Elfric of Eynsham

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