Have you heard of the Green Pickle Ornament? Until last year, I had never heard about it. Pauline, my new daughter-in-law this year, told me about it. She gave us one last year. Thus a new Christmas tradition started last Christmas in our home.
I wanted to learn more about this Green Pickle. I had heard it was a Polish tradition. I liked that as I am of Polish descent. But in my research, I learned it is really a German tradition. That is okay as my husband is of German descent. But, wait a minute! I also found it is an American tradition. It is said that the Green Pickle ornament had it's beginning in the deep south of the U.S. of A!
So I put "Green Pickle" in the Google search engine (don't you just love Google? Where would we be if we couldn't use Google?). Here are two things I found.
John Lower was a German who was born in Bavaria in 1842. He emigrated to the United States with his family. He fought in the American Civil War and was captured and sent to a prison in Andersonville, Georgia. He fell ill given the poor conditions of the prison. Starving, he begged a guard for just one pickle before he died. The guard took pity on him and found a pickle for John. The Lower family lore says that the pickle, by the grace of God, gave John the mental and physical strength to live on. After being reunited with his family he began the tradition of hiding a pickle on the Christmas tree. The first person who found the pickle on Christmas morning would be blessed with a year of good fortune and a special gift, just as John Lower had experienced!
Now I found another theory. The people in Berrien Springs, Michigan, which is the self-proclaimed "Christmas Pickle Capital" of the world, hold a festival and have a Grand Dillmeister. Their story claims Medieval origins and traces two Spanish boys who were on their way home from boarding school. When they stopped to stay at an Inn, the mean Inn keeper stuffed them into a pickle barrel. When St. Nicholas passed by, he touched the barrel with his staff and set them free.
Now I am originally from Michigan, born and raised. But, I have to say that I tend to think that the German story of the Green Pickle seems more believable to me. Just saying.
So now this year I will hide the pickle really good in our Christmas tree. All four of our children and families will be here for Christmas. And this year, there will be a special gift for the one who finds the Green Pickle. And there are new rules this year. No throwing items off the tree while trying to find the Green Pickle! One son got a little carried away last year when he couldn't find the pickle. But it was all in good fun!
Do you hide a Green Pickle in your tree? If you do, I would love to hear about it. Please leave me a comment below.
I wish you all a Very Blessed Christmas!!!