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Pine trees have played a major role in the ancient pagan religions of Europe.
In ancient Greece, the pine was particularly sacred to Dionysus and his worshippers. In the ancient city of Corinth, the Corinthians were ordered by the Delphic Oracle to worship the pine along with Dionysus as a god.
The pine was the sacred tree of the Mithraic cult which became widespread in ancient Rome. On March 22nd, the followers of Cybele would cut a pine tree down and bring it into her sanctuary in honor of her consort Attis, who died underneath, and was said to have been turned into, a pine tree. During the Roman holiday of Saturnalia (Dec. 17-25th), the ancient Romans would decorate pine trees with ornaments such as oscilla, which were made in the image of Bacchus, and little clay dolls known as sigillaria.
Pine trees are one of the symbols of the Germanic mid-winter festival of Yule.
The pines and other coniferous trees of the Black Forest of Germany help give the forest its reputation as a dark and impenetrable place, associated by many with fairy tales.
Other pine trees in Europe have also become famous worldwide, such as the Balkan pine tree of southeast and eastern Europe, which can live up to 1,000 years. Along the coasts of Norway, a vast rain forest of pine, spruce, and other trees provide a unique ecosystem for Scandinavia and a magnificent treasure for the world.
Pinus sylvestris, the Scots pine, grows naturally in Scotland, but can be found across much of Europe and as far north as the Arctic Circle! Vast forests of Scots pines growing across the Scottish countryside bring to mind ancient Druid rituals in which the pine was burned to commemorate the changing of seasons and to bring back the sun.