By Les Stulberg
For the Independent
Passers-by take a double-take when they drive by the home of Albert and Geri Wesa in the hamlet of Endiang during the Christmas season.
Prominently displayed in their living room window is their beautifully decorated Christmas tree, which may not seem unusual, except for the fact the tree is upside-down.
The tree has intrigued many and when asked why they chose to hang their tree upside-down Geri explains it was done for practical reasons.
The Wesa’s have made this their own family tradition, beginning when their three children were very young. Today their children are 42, 40 and 38 so the tradition has been long-standing.
When the children were small and crawling under the tree or playing beside it and piling into it, plus with some pets at the time playing havoc with the tree, it just seemed safer to suspend the tree, Geri said.
She also said this unusual Christmas tree practice is now being carried on by their daughter too, who is keeping the family tradition going.
When asking the Wesa family about their Christmas tree tradition, many people are surprised to hear it was originally done for practical reasons and not stemming from European traditional origins.
Folklore credits a seventh century monk for cutting down a fir tree and turning it upside-down, using its triangular shape to explain the Holy Trinity to the pagans.
But it was in Poland where the inverted Christmas tree really thrived.
In a tradition called Podlazniczek, the Polish people used fruits, nuts, sweets wrapped in shiny paper, straw ornaments, ribbons and gold-painted pine cones to decorate a spruce tree hanging upside down from the ceiling of the center room.
It was often the poorer Polish families who hung their Christmas tree from the rafters. In the small common rooms of the lower classes there simply was no space.
For the Wesa family it wasn’t European tradition they were following and their tree isn’t suspended from the rafters in the center of the room, but from a sturdy hook in the ceiling in front of their living room window. For other times of the year they use the hook to hang plants in the window.
Anyone doing Christmas light tours, the Wesa home would be an interesting addition to see.