David Landry headshot.

In the News: David Landry on Why Red and Green Are the Colors of Christmas

David Landry, professor of theology at the University of St. Thomas College of Arts and Sciences, recently spoke with CBS News Miami about theories as to why red and green are commonly known as Christmas colors.

From the story:

“We have a lot of different accounts of how it came to be,” he said. “Like so many traditions, there’s no definitive answer.”

But he did offer up a few theories scholars have come up with over the years. The first one involves the crown of thorns – the holly – placed on Jesus’ head leading up to the crucifixion.

“The berries were white when they were put on Jesus’ head, and then they turned red as a consequence of the blood that was spilled,” Landry said.

There was one theory that Landry thinks is most probable. It has to do with the colors green and red as a prop in a play dating back to the 14th century.

“One of these plays was the Paradise play – the fall of Adam and Eve,” he said. “The traditional date for that was Dec. 24.”

The apple was red, and the prop was a tree.

“You couldn’t use an apple tree, because the apple trees weren’t in season and the trees were bare,” Landry continued. “So they would use an evergreen tree, like a pine, and then they would decorate it with apples.”