The Christmas Rose
A Christmas tradition in Pomerania that originated in about the 12th century, a time when the populous still had not converted to Christianity and Pagan customs prevailed. It is said that the German Bishop, Otto Von Bamberg, made a visit to Stettin and converted some of the residents. Many of the newly converted Christians died because of their beliefs.
An old man who lived in a small village near Stettin was a Christian, but kept it a secret out of fear of persecution. However, one of his neighbors betrayed him to the Pagan priests, which resulted in him being jailed and sentenced to death. The heathen priests taunted and ridiculed him, and said, "If your God is so powerful, let Him make flowers bloom here in the middle of winter," then you will be set free. The old man prayed throughout the night, but, in the morning he was led to the public hanging tree. Lo and behold, there, under the old oak tree, flowers were in full bloom. They were to become known as the "Christmas Rose." With this sign the Pomeranians accepted Christianity. It is believed that the Crossbeak, a rare bird that nests and broods in this northern area at Christmas time, had carried the seed from the south.