A pine is any conifer in the genus Pinus of the family Pinaceae. Pinus is the sole genus in the subfamily Pinoideae; the Plant List compiled by the Royal Botanic Gardens and Missouri Botanical Garden accepts 126 species names of pines as current, together with 35 unresolved species and many more synonyms. The modern English name "pine" derives from Latin pinus, which some have traced to the Indo-European base *pīt- ‘resin’. Before the 19th century, pines were referred to as firs. In some European languages, Germanic cognates of the Old Norse name are still in use for pines—in Danish fyr, in Norwegian fura/fure/furu, Swedish fura/furu, Dutch vuren, German Föhre—but in modern English, fir is now restricted to fir and Douglas fir. Pine trees are evergreen, coniferous resinous trees growing 3–80 m tall, with the majority of species reaching 15–45 m tall; the smallest are Siberian dwarf pine and Potosi pinyon, the tallest is an 81.79 m tall ponderosa pine located in southern Oregon's Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest.
Pines are long lived and reach ages of 100–1,000 years, some more. The longest-lived is Pinus longaeva. One individual of this species, dubbed "Methuselah", is one of the world's oldest living organisms at around 4,600 years old; this tree can be found in the White Mountains of California. An older tree, now cut down, was dated at 4,900 years old, it was discovered in a grove beneath Wheeler Peak and it is now known as "Prometheus" after the Greek immortal. The bark of most pines is thick and scaly; the branches are produced in regular "pseudo whorls" a tight spiral but appearing like a ring of branches arising from the same point. Many pines are uninodal, producing just one such whorl of branches each year, from buds at the tip of the year's new shoot, but others are multinodal, producing two or more whorls of branches per year; the spiral growth of branches and cone scales may be arranged in Fibonacci number ratios. The new spring shoots are sometimes called "candles"; these "candles" offer foresters a means to evaluate fertility of the vigour of the trees.
Pines have four types of leaf: Seed leaves on seedlings are borne in a whorl of 4–24. Juvenile leaves, which follow on seedlings and young plants, are 2–6 cm long, green or blue-green, arranged spirally on the shoot; these are produced for six months to five years longer. Scale leaves, similar to bud scales, are small and not photosynthetic, arranged spirally like the juvenile leaves. Needles, the adult leaves, are green and bundled in clusters called fascicles; the needles can number from one to seven per fascicle, but number from two to five. Each fascicle is produced from a small bud on a dwarf shoot in the axil of a scale leaf; these bud scales remain on the fascicle as a basal sheath. The needles persist depending on species. If a shoot is damaged, the needle fascicles just below the damage will generate a bud which can replace the lost leaves. Pines are monoecious, having the male and female cones on the same tree, though a few species are sub-dioecious, with individuals predominantly, but not wholly, single-sex.
The male cones are small 1–5 cm long, only present for a short period, falling as soon as they have shed their pollen. The female cones take 1.5–3 years to mature after pollination, with actual fertilization delayed one year. At maturity the female cones are 3–60 cm long; each cone has numerous spirally. The seeds are small and winged, are anemophilous, but some are larger and have only a vestigial wing, are bird-dispersed. At maturity, the cones open to release the seeds, but in some of the bird-dispersed species, the seeds are only released by the bird breaking the cones open. In others, the seeds are stored in closed cones for many years until an environmental cue triggers the cones to open, releasing the seeds; the most common form of serotiny is pyriscence, in which a resin binds the cones shut until melted by a forest fire. Pines are gymnosperms; the genus is divided into two subgenera, which can be distinguished by cone and leaf characters: Pinus subg. Pinus, the yellow, or hard pine group with harder wood and two or three needles per fascicle Pinus subg.
Strobus, the white, or soft pine group with softer wood and five needles per fascicle Pines are native to the Northern Hemisphere, in a few parts of the tropics in the Southern Hemisphere. Most regions of the Northern Hemisphere host some native species of pines. One species crosses the equator in Sumatra to 2°S. In North America, various species occur in regions at latitudes from as far north as 66°N to as far south as 12°N. Pines may be found in a large variety of environments, ranging from semi-arid desert to rainforests, from sea level up to 5,200 metres, from the coldest to the hottest environments on Earth, they occur in mountainous areas with favorable soils and at least some water. Various species have been introduced to temperate and subtropical regions of both hemisp
A Christmas tree is a decorated tree an evergreen conifer such as a spruce, pine or fir, or an artificial tree of similar appearance, associated with the celebration of Christmas, originating in Northern Europe. The custom was developed in medieval Livonia, in early modern Germany where Protestant Germans brought decorated trees into their homes, it acquired popularity beyond the Lutheran areas of Germany and the Baltic countries during the second half of the 19th century, at first among the upper classes. The tree was traditionally decorated with "roses made of colored paper, wafers, sweetmeats". In the 18th century, it began to be illuminated by candles, which were replaced by Christmas lights after the advent of electrification. Today, there is a wide variety of traditional ornaments, such as garlands, baubles and candy canes. An angel or star might be placed at the top of the tree to represent the Angel Gabriel or the Star of Bethlehem from the Nativity. Edible items such as gingerbread and other sweets are popular and are tied to or hung from the tree's branches with ribbons.
In the Western Christian tradition, Christmas trees are variously erected on days such as the first day of Advent or as late as Christmas Eve depending on the country. The Christmas tree is sometimes compared with the "Yule-tree" in discussions of its folkloric origins. Modern Christmas trees originated during the Renaissance of early modern Germany, its 16th-century origins are sometimes associated with Protestant Christian reformer Martin Luther, said to have first added lighted candles to an evergreen tree. The first recorded Christmas tree can be found on the keystone sculpture of a private home in Turckheim, dating 1576. While today the Christmas tree is a recognized symbol for the holidays, it was once a pagan tradition unassociated with Christmas traditions. Modern Christmas trees have been related to the "tree of paradise" of medieval mystery plays that were given on 24 December, the commemoration and name day of Adam and Eve in various countries. In such plays, a tree decorated with apples and wafers was used as a setting for the play.
Like the Christmas crib, the Paradise tree was placed in homes. The apples were replaced by round objects such as shiny red balls. At the end of the Middle Ages, an early predecessor appears referred in the Regiment of the Order of Cister around 1400, in Alcobaça, Portugal; the Regiment of the local high-Sacristans of the Cistercian Order refers to what may be considered one of the oldest references to the Christmas tree: "Note on how to put the Christmas branch, scilicet: On the Christmas eve, you will look for a large Branch of green laurel, you shall reap many red oranges, place them on the branches that come of the laurel as you have seen, in every orange you shall put a candle, hang the Branch by a rope in the pole, which shall be by the candle of the altar-mor."The relevance of ancient pre-Christian customs to the 16th-century German initiation of the Christmas tree custom is disputed. Resistance to the custom was because of its supposed Lutheran origins. Other sources have offered a connection between the symbolism of the first documented Christmas trees in Alsace around 1600 and the trees of pre-Christian traditions.
For example, according to the Encyclopædia Britannica, "The use of evergreen trees and garlands to symbolize eternal life was a custom of the ancient Egyptians and Hebrews. Tree worship was common among the pagan Europeans and survived their conversion to Christianity in the Scandinavian customs of decorating the house and barn with evergreens at the New Year to scare away the devil and of setting up a tree for the birds during Christmas time."During the Roman mid-winter festival of Saturnalia, houses were decorated with wreaths of evergreen plants, along with other antecedent customs now associated with Christmas. The Vikings and Saxons worshiped trees; the story of Saint Boniface cutting down Donar's Oak illustrates the pagan practices in 8th century among the Germans. A folk version of the story adds the detail that an evergreen tree grew in place of the felled oak, telling them about how its triangular shape reminds humanity of the Trinity and how it points to heaven. Georgians have their own traditional Christmas tree called Chichilaki, made from dried up hazelnut or walnut branches that are shaped to form a small coniferous tree.
These pale-colored ornaments differ in height from 20 cm to 3 meters. Chichilakis are most common in the Guria and Samegrelo regions of Georgia near the Black Sea, but they can be found in some stores around the capital of Tbilisi. Georgians believe that Chichilaki resembles the famous beard of St. Basil the Great, because Eastern Orthodox Church commemorates St. Basil on 1 January. In Poland there was an old pagan custom of suspending a branch of fir, spruce or pine called Podłaźniczka from the ceiling. An alternative to this was mistletoe; the branches were decorated with apples, cookies, colored paper, stars made of straw and colored wafers. Some people believed that the tree had magical powers that were linked with harvesting and success in the next year. In the late 18th and early 19th century, these traditions were completely replaced by the German custom of decorati
The bamboos are evergreen perennial flowering plants in the subfamily Bambusoideae of the grass family Poaceae. The word "bamboo" comes from the Kannada term bambu, introduced to English through Indonesian and Malay. In bamboo, as in other grasses, the internodal regions of the stem are hollow and the vascular bundles in the cross-section are scattered throughout the stem instead of in a cylindrical arrangement; the dicotyledonous woody xylem is absent. The absence of secondary growth wood causes the stems of monocots, including the palms and large bamboos, to be columnar rather than tapering. Bamboos include some of the fastest-growing plants in the world, due to a unique rhizome-dependent system. Certain species of bamboo can grow 91 cm within a 24-hour period, at a rate of 4 cm an hour. Giant bamboos are the largest members of the grass family. Bamboos are of notable economic and cultural significance in South Asia, Southeast Asia and East Asia, being used for building materials, as a food source, as a versatile raw product.
Bamboo has a higher specific compressive strength than wood, brick or concrete, a specific tensile strength that rivals steel. Bamboos have long been considered the most primitive grasses because of the presence of bracteate, indeterminate inflorescences, "pseudospikelets", flowers with three lodicules, six stamens, three stigmata. Following more recent molecular phylogenetic research, many tribes and genera of grasses included in the Bambusoideae are now classified in other subfamilies, e.g. the Anomochlooideae, the Puelioideae, the Ehrhartoideae. The subfamily in its current sense belongs to the BOP clade of grasses, where it is sister to the Pooideae; the bamboos comprise three clades classified as tribes, these correspond with geographic divisions representing the New World herbaceous species, tropical woody bamboos, temperate woody bamboos. The woody bamboos do not form a monophyletic group. Altogether, more than 1,400 species are placed in 115 genera. Most bamboo species are native to moist tropical and warm temperate climates.
However, many species are found in diverse climates, ranging from hot tropical regions to cool mountainous regions and highland cloud forests. In the Asia-Pacific region they occur across East Asia, from north to 50 °N latitude in Sakhalin, to south to northern Australia, west to India and the Himalayas. China, Korea and Australia, all have several endemic populations, they occur in small numbers in sub-Saharan Africa, confined to tropical areas, from southern Senegal in the north to southern Mozambique and Madagascar in the south. In the Americas, bamboo has a native range from 47 °S in southern Argentina and the beech forests of central Chile, through the South American tropical rainforests, to the Andes in Ecuador near 4,300 m. Bamboo is native through Central America and Mexico, northward into the Southeastern United States. Canada and continental Europe are not known to have any native species of bamboo; as garden plants, many species grow outside these ranges, including most of Europe and the United States.
Some attempts have been made to grow bamboo on a commercial basis in the Great Lakes region of east-central Africa in Rwanda. In the United States, several companies are growing and distributing species such as Phyllostachys nigra and Phyllostachys edulis; the two general patterns for the growth of bamboo are "clumping" and "running". Clumping bamboo species tend to spread as the growth pattern of the rhizomes is to expand the root mass similar to ornamental grasses. "Running" bamboos, need to be controlled during cultivation because of their potential for aggressive behavior. They spread through their rhizomes, which can spread underground and send up new culms to break through the surface. Running bamboo species are variable in their tendency to spread; some can send out runners of several metres a year, while others can stay in the same general area for long periods. If neglected, over time, they can cause problems by moving into adjacent areas. Bamboos include some of the fastest-growing plants on Earth, with reported growth rates up to 91 cm in 24 hours.
However, the growth rate is dependent on local soil and climatic conditions, as well as species, a more typical growth rate for many cultivated bamboos in temperate climates is in the range of 3–10 cm per day during the growing period. Growing in regions of warmer climates during the late Cretaceous period, vast fields existed in what is now Asia; some of the largest timber bamboo can grow over 30 m tall, be as large as 25–30 cm in diameter. However, the size range for mature bamboo is species-dependent, with the smallest bamboos reaching only several inches high at maturity. A typical height range that would cover many of the common bamboos grown in the United States is 4.5–12 m, depending on species. Anji County of China, known as the "Town of Bamboo", provides the optimal climate and soil conditions to grow and process some of the most valued bamboo poles available worldwide. Unlike all trees, individual bamboo culms emerge from the ground at their full diameter and grow to their full height in a single growing season of three to four months.
During this time, each new shoot grows
The Edo period or Tokugawa period is the period between 1603 and 1868 in the history of Japan, when Japanese society was under the rule of the Tokugawa shogunate and the country's 300 regional daimyō. The period was characterized by economic growth, strict social order, isolationist foreign policies, a stable population, "no more wars", popular enjoyment of arts and culture; the shogunate was established in Edo on March 24, 1603, by Tokugawa Ieyasu. The period came to an end with the Meiji Restoration on May 1868, after the fall of Edo. A revolution took place from the time of the Kamakura shogunate, which existed with the Tennō's court, to the Tokugawa, when the samurai became the unchallenged rulers in what historian Edwin O. Reischauer called a "centralized feudal" form of shogunate. Instrumental in the rise of the new-existing bakufu was Tokugawa Ieyasu, the main beneficiary of the achievements of Oda Nobunaga and Toyotomi Hideyoshi. Powerful, Ieyasu profited by his transfer to the rich Kantō area.
He maintained two million koku of land, a new headquarters at Edo, a strategically situated castle town, had an additional two million koku of land and thirty-eight vassals under his control. After Hideyoshi's death, Ieyasu moved to seize control from the Toyotomi clan. Ieyasu's victory over the western daimyō at the Battle of Sekigahara gave him control of all Japan, he abolished numerous enemy daimyō houses, reduced others, such as that of the Toyotomi, redistributed the spoils of war to his family and allies. Ieyasu still failed to achieve complete control of the western daimyō, but his assumption of the title of shōgun helped consolidate the alliance system. After further strengthening his power base, Ieyasu installed his son Hidetada as shōgun and himself as retired shōgun in 1605; the Toyotomi were still a significant threat, Ieyasu devoted the next decade to their eradication. In 1615, the Tokugawa army destroyed the Toyotomi stronghold at Osaka; the Tokugawa period brought 250 years of stability to Japan.
The political system evolved into what historians call bakuhan, a combination of the terms bakufu and han to describe the government and society of the period. In the bakuhan, the shōgun had national authority and the daimyō had regional authority; this represented a new unity in the feudal structure, which featured an large bureaucracy to administer the mixture of centralized and decentralized authorities. The Tokugawa became more powerful during their first century of rule: land redistribution gave them nearly seven million koku, control of the most important cities, a land assessment system reaping great revenues; the feudal hierarchy was completed by the various classes of daimyō. Closest to the Tokugawa house were the shinpan, or "related houses", they were twenty-three daimyō on the borders of Tokugawa lands. The shinpan held honorary titles and advisory posts in the bakufu; the second class of the hierarchy were the fudai, or "house daimyō", rewarded with lands close to the Tokugawa holdings for their faithful service.
By the 18th century, 145 fudai controlled the greatest assessed at 250,000 koku. Members of the fudai class staffed most of the major bakufu offices. Ninety-seven han formed the tozama, former opponents or new allies; the tozama were located on the peripheries of the archipelago and collectively controlled nearly ten million koku of productive land. Because the tozama were least trusted of the daimyō, they were the most cautiously managed and generously treated, although they were excluded from central government positions; the Tokugawa shogunate not only consolidated their control over a reunified Japan, they had unprecedented power over the emperor, the court, all daimyō and the religious orders. The emperor was held up as the ultimate source of political sanction for the shōgun, who ostensibly was the vassal of the imperial family; the Tokugawa helped the imperial family recapture its old glory by rebuilding its palaces and granting it new lands. To ensure a close tie between the imperial clan and the Tokugawa family, Ieyasu's granddaughter was made an imperial consort in 1619.
A code of laws was established to regulate the daimyō houses. The code encompassed private conduct, dress, types of weapons and numbers of troops allowed. Although the daimyō were not taxed per se, they were levied for contributions for military and logistical support and for such public works projects as castles, roads and palaces; the various regulations and levies not only strengthened the Tokugawa but depleted the wealth of the daimyō, thus weakening their threat to the central administration. The han, once military-centered domains, became mere local administrative units; the daimyō did have full administrative control over their territory and their complex systems of retainers and commoners. Loyalty was exacted from religious foundations greatly weakened by Nobunaga and Hideyoshi, through a variety of control mechanisms. Like Hideyoshi, Ieyasu encouraged foreign trade but was suspicious of outsiders, he wanted to make Edo a major port, but once he learned that the Europeans favored ports in Kyūshū and that China had rejected his plans for official trade, he moved to control existing trade
Trees in mythology
Trees are significant in many of the world's mythologies and religions, have been given deep and sacred meanings throughout the ages. Human beings, observing the growth and death of trees, the annual death and revival of their foliage, have seen them as powerful symbols of growth and rebirth. Evergreen trees, which stay green throughout these cycles, are sometimes considered symbols of the eternal, immortality or fertility; the image of the Tree of life or world tree occurs in many mythologies. Sacred or symbolic trees include the banyan and the sacred fig in Hinduism and Jainism, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil of Judaism and Christianity. In folk religion and folklore, trees are said to be the homes of tree spirits. Germanic mythology as well as Celtic polytheism both appear to have involved cultic practice in sacred groves grove of oak; the term druid itself derives from the Celtic word for oak. The Egyptian Book of the Dead mentions sycamores as part of the scenery where the soul of the deceased finds blissful repose.
Trees are an attribute of the archetypical locus amoenus. In many parts of the world travelers have observed the custom of hanging objects upon trees in order to establish some sort of a relationship between themselves and the tree. Throughout Europe, trees are known as sites of pilgrimages, ritual ambulation, the recital of prayers. Wreaths, ribbons or rags are suspended to win favor for sick humans or livestock, or for good luck. Popular belief associates the sites with healing, bewitching, or mere wishing. In South America, Darwin recorded a tree honored by numerous offerings; the world tree, with its branches reaching up into the sky, roots deep into the earth, can be seen to dwell in three worlds - a link between heaven, the earth, the underworld, uniting above and below. This great tree acts as an Axis mundi, supporting or holding up the cosmos, providing a link between the heavens and underworld. In European mythology, the best-known example is the tree Yggdrasil from Norse mythology. Numerous popular stories throughout the world reflect a firmly-rooted belief in an intimate connection between a human being and a tree, plant or flower.
Sometimes a man's life depends upon the tree and suffers when it withers or is injured, we encounter the idea of the external soul found in the Ancient Egyptian Tale of Two Brothers from at least 3000 years ago. Here one of the brothers leaves his heart on the top of the flower of the acacia and falls dead when it is cut down. Sometimes, the tree is a mysterious token which shows its sympathy with an absent hero by weakening or dying, as the man becomes ill or loses his life; these two features easily combine, they agree in representing to us mysterious sympathy between tree and human life. Sometimes the new-born child is associated with a newly planted tree with which its life is supposed to be bound up. Sometimes, boughs or plants are selected and the individual draws omens of life and death. Again, a person will put themselves into relationship with a tree by depositing upon it something, in close contact with them, such as hair or clothing. A tree will be associated with oracles; the oak of Dodona was tended by priests.
Forms of the tall oaks of the old Prussians were inhabited by gods who gave responses, so numerous are the examples that the old Hebrew terebinth of the teacher, the terebinth of the diviners may reasonably be placed in this category. Important sacred trees are the object of pilgrimage, one of the most noteworthy being the branch of the Bo tree at Sri Lanka brought thither before the Christian era; the tree spirits will hold sway over the surrounding forest or district, the animals in the locality are sacred and must not be harmed. The custom of transferring disease or sickness from men to trees is well known. Sometimes the hair, clothing, etc. of a sickly person are fixed to a tree, or they are forcibly inserted in a hole in the trunk, or the tree is split and the patient passes through the aperture. Where the tree has been thus injured, its recovery and that of the patient are associated. Different explanations may be found of such customs which take rather different forms among peoples in different grades.
In Arab folklore, sacred trees are haunted by jinn. Here, as elsewhere, it is dangerous to pull a bough; this dread of damaging special trees is familiar: Cato instructed the woodman to sacrifice to the male or female deity before thinning a grove, while in the Homeric poem to Aphrodite the tree nymph is wounded when the tree is injured, dies when the trunk falls. Early Buddhism held that trees might lawfully be cut. Propitiation is made; the Talein of Burma prays to the tree before he cuts it down, the African woodman will place a fresh sprig upon the tree. Some Ancient Indian tree deities, such as Puliyidaivalaiyamman, the Tamil deity of the tamarind tree, or Kadambariyamman, associated with the kadamba tree were seen as manifestations of a goddess who offe
Japan is an island country in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies off the eastern coast of the Asian continent and stretches from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and the Philippine Sea in the south; the kanji that make up Japan's name mean "sun origin", it is called the "Land of the Rising Sun". Japan is a stratovolcanic archipelago consisting of about 6,852 islands; the four largest are Honshu, Hokkaido and Shikoku, which make up about ninety-seven percent of Japan's land area and are referred to as home islands. The country is divided into 47 prefectures in eight regions, with Hokkaido being the northernmost prefecture and Okinawa being the southernmost one; the population of 127 million is the world's tenth largest. 90.7 % of people live in cities. About 13.8 million people live in the capital of Japan. The Greater Tokyo Area is the most populous metropolitan area in the world with over 38 million people. Archaeological research indicates; the first written mention of Japan is in Chinese history texts from the 1st century AD.
Influence from other regions China, followed by periods of isolation from Western Europe, has characterized Japan's history. From the 12th century until 1868, Japan was ruled by successive feudal military shōguns who ruled in the name of the Emperor. Japan entered into a long period of isolation in the early 17th century, ended in 1853 when a United States fleet pressured Japan to open to the West. After nearly two decades of internal conflict and insurrection, the Imperial Court regained its political power in 1868 through the help of several clans from Chōshū and Satsuma – and the Empire of Japan was established. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, victories in the First Sino-Japanese War, the Russo-Japanese War and World War I allowed Japan to expand its empire during a period of increasing militarism; the Second Sino-Japanese War of 1937 expanded into part of World War II in 1941, which came to an end in 1945 following the Japanese surrender. Since adopting its revised constitution on May 3, 1947, during the occupation led by SCAP, the sovereign state of Japan has maintained a unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy with an Emperor and an elected legislature called the National Diet.
Japan is a member of the ASEAN Plus mechanism, UN, the OECD, the G7, the G8, the G20, is considered a great power. Its economy is the world's third-largest by nominal GDP and the fourth-largest by purchasing power parity, it is the world's fourth-largest exporter and fourth-largest importer. Japan benefits from a skilled and educated workforce. Although it has renounced its right to declare war, Japan maintains a modern military with the world's eighth-largest military budget, used for self-defense and peacekeeping roles. Japan is a developed country with a high standard of living and Human Development Index, its population enjoys the highest life expectancy and third lowest infant mortality rate in the world, but is experiencing issues due to an aging population and low birthrate. Japan is renowned for its historical and extensive cinema, influential music industry, video gaming, rich cuisine and its major contributions to science and modern technology; the Japanese word for Japan is 日本, pronounced Nihon or Nippon and means "the origin of the sun".
The character nichi means "sun" or "day". The compound therefore means "origin of the sun" and is the source of the popular Western epithet "Land of the Rising Sun"; the earliest record of the name Nihon appears in the Chinese historical records of the Tang dynasty, the Old Book of Tang. At the end of the seventh century, a delegation from Japan requested that Nihon be used as the name of their country; this name may have its origin in a letter sent in 607 and recorded in the official history of the Sui dynasty. Prince Shōtoku, the Regent of Japan, sent a mission to China with a letter in which he called himself "the Emperor of the Land where the Sun rises"; the message said: "Here, I, the emperor of the country where the sun rises, send a letter to the emperor of the country where the sun sets. How are you". Prior to the adoption of Nihon, other terms such as Yamato and Wakoku were used; the term Wa is a homophone of Wo 倭, used by the Chinese as a designation for the Japanese as early as the third century Three Kingdoms period.
Another form of Wa, Wei in Chinese) was used for an early state in Japan called Nakoku during the Han dynasty. However, the Japanese disliked some connotation of Wa 倭, it was therefore replaced with the substitute character Wa, meaning "togetherness, harmony"; the English word Japan derives from the historical Chinese pronunciation of 日本. The Old Mandarin or early Wu Chinese pronunciation of Japan was recorded by Marco Polo as Cipangu. In modern Shanghainese, a Wu dialect, the pronunciation of characters 日本; the old Malay word for Japan, Japun or Japang, was borrowed from a southern coastal Chinese dialect Fukienese or Ningpo – and this Malay word was encountered by Portuguese traders in Southeast Asia in the 16th century. These Early Portuguese traders brought the word
New Year tree
New Year trees are decorated trees similar to Christmas trees that are displayed to celebrate the New Year. They should not be confused with the practice of leaving up a Christmas tree until after New Year's Day. New Year trees are common in various cultures and nations, chiefly the former Soviet Union, former Yugoslavia, Turkey and Vietnam. Russian and Turkish New Year trees are of the same varieties as those used for Christmas trees, although a spruce tree is the most usual type; the decorations are the same as for Christmas trees. While Russian and Turkish North Americans purchasing a tree after Christmas when prices have plummeted might enjoy notable savings, most do not wait beyond Christmas to buy their trees; the tradition of installing and decorating a Ёлка for Christmas dates back to the 17th century when Peter the Great imported the practice as a result of his travels in Europe. Peter decreed in 1699 that the New Year will be celebrated on January 1 instead of September 1, that "Fir tree and juniper branches and trees shall be used to decorate houses and gateways along main streets".
However, in Imperial Russia, Yolka were banned beginning in 1916 by the Synod as a tradition originating in Germany. After the revolution of 1917, Christmas celebrations—along with other religious holidays—were discouraged and de-facto prohibited as a result of the Soviet antireligious campaign; the League of Militant Atheists encouraged school pupils to campaign against Christmas traditions, among them being the Christmas tree, as well as other Christian holidays, including Easter. With the Christmas tree being prohibited in accordance with Soviet anti-religious legislation, people supplanted the former Christmas custom with New Year's trees; the New Year tree was encouraged in the USSR after the famous letter by Pavel Postyshev, published in Pravda on 28 December 1935, in which he asked for trees to be installed in schools, children's homes, Young Pioneer Palaces, children's clubs, children's theaters and cinemas. In his letter, Postyshev wrote: In the pre-revolutionary era the bourgeoisie and the capitalist officials always put up a tree for their children on New Year.
Children of the working classes looked on with envy through the windows at the gleaming tree adorned with colored lights and the children of the rich playing around it. Why do our schools, nurseries, children’s clubs, Young Pioneer Palaces deprive children of the working class of the Soviet State of this wonderful enjoyment? Because some “left-leaning” exaggerators decried this pastime as a bourgeois children's indulgence, it is time to put an end to this wrongful condemnation of the tree, a joyful diversion for the children. The Young Pioneer scout leaders are called upon to organize holiday celebrations for the children that feature New Year trees. In schools, clubs and theaters – children’s New Year trees should be everywhere! There should not be a single village or community farm where the local board, along with members of the Young Communist League, does not provide a New Year tree for their kids. City councils, chairmen of district executive committees, village councils, education authorities must all work to bring the New Year tree to children of our great socialist motherland.
Our children will be grateful to us for giving them back the New Year tree. I'm sure the Young Communists will take a active part in this enterprise and do away with the silly misconception that the New Year tree is a bourgeois excess. So, let's organize a New Year celebration for kids and arrange a good Soviet New Year tree in all our cities and rural villages!” In 1937, a Novy God Tree was installed in the Moscow House of the Unions. An invitation to the Yolka at the Palace of Unions became a matter of honour for Soviet children. After the dissolution of the USSR, stigma against religion subsided amidst renewed public interest. A Turkish New Year tree, in Turkish Yılbaşı Ağacı, looks the same as a Christmas tree with Christmas ornaments, it is called a New Year tree because it is specific to the New Year and, with about 95% of Turkey's population Muslim, most Turks do not celebrate Christmas. After the modernisation of Turkey, the Islamic calendar and the fiscal calendar were replaced by the Gregorian calendar and New Year celebrations started in the late 1920s.
The celebrations became popular in Turkey and Christmas trees were brought into the country as New Year trees. Since the custom of setting up a tree for the New Year is a traditional event in Turkey, it is put up between the beginning of December and the end of January, the mid date being New Year's Eve. The habit of giving presents at Christmas was changed to the giving of New Year presents; the New Year tree can be considered an example of westernised Turkish culture or Turkified European culture. Planting a New Year tree or cây nêu is a Vietnamese custom, part of the springtime Tết festival. A bamboo pole serves as the "tree". Hoa đào or Hoa mai and kumquat trees are decorated and displayed in Vietnamese homes during Tết. In Cantonese, the new year tree is called Nin Fa. Bamboo is just one of the new year trees for the others being mandarin and peach; the mandarin plant is called Kat, a homophone to Chinese: 吉, standing for good luck. The peach flower stands for good relationships. Christmas tree New Year Ceremonial pole Kadomatsu - in Japanese case.
New Statesman article on Russian New Years trees Symbols of Tết