The Christmas rose, also called the Snow or Winter Rose,
is a well known English plant. It is traditionally
regarded as a true Christmas flower. It blooms in the
depths of winter in the mountains of Central Europe.
There is a nice legend associated with it. Legend links it
with the birth of Christ and a little shepherdess named
As Madelon tented her sheep one cold and wintry night,
wise men and other shepherds passed by the snow covered
field with their gifts for the Christ Child.
The wise men carried the rich gifts of gold, myrrh and
frankincense and the shepherds, fruits, honey and doves.
When the Magi laid their rich
offerings of myrrh, frankincense, and gold, by the bed of
the sleeping Christ Child, legend says that Madelon stood
outside the door quietly weeping.
She, too, had sought the Christ
Child. She, too, desired to bring him gifts. But she had
nothing to offer, for she was very poor indeed. In vain
she had searched the countryside over for one little
flower to bring Him, but she could find neither bloom nor
leaf, for the winter had been cold.
And as she stood there weeping,
an angel passing saw her sorrow, and stooping he brushed
aside the snow at her feet. And there sprang up on the
spot a cluster of beautiful winter roses, -- waxen white
with pink tipped petals.
"Nor myrrh, nor
frankincense, nor gold," said the angel, "is
offering more meet for the Christ Child than these pure
Joyfully the shepherd maiden
gathered the flowers and made her offering to the Holy
In central and northern Europe it is the custom to
break off a branch of a cherry tree at the beginning of
the Advent and keep it in water in a warm room; the
flowers should burst into bloom at Christmas time.