I have doubts about every source. However, I have two sources that say trees were attached to ridge polls. One I provided that said it was to celebrate a house building and another (I am still looking for) that said the practice continued into early Christian conversion times for the celebration of Christmas. Then the tree went inside the house.
As with many pieces of folklore, some aspects of the topping-out ceremony's origin are unexplained, and some of what is explained varies in detail, depending on who is doing the explaining. But along with Mr. Kelly, many people connected with the construction business believe that the custom of the fir tree - which is common in North America and Western Europe - originated in Scandinavia, perhaps symbolizing bringing life to the building.
''We do have solid evidence that about 700 A.D., the Scandinavians were the first to be using trees to symbolize the topping-out,'' said William M. Lawbaugh, editor of Ironworker Magazine, the publication of the ironworkers' union. ''There was a pantheism, a spirit within the wood. The mythology in Scandinavia suggests that man might have originated from a tree, and the soul of man returns to the tree after death.''
In a 1931 essay in a magazine called ''Pencil Points,'' one author, William Collins, theorized that the custom, then widespread and known in New York as a ''roof-tree'' or ''roofbush raising,'' began with early man's gesture ''to propitiate the outraged tree spirits.'' He also credits the Scandinavians.
Carl A. Morse, a director of Morse Diesel, the construction firm, believes that the custom came here from Norway, and has a different explanation of the significance of topping out. ''Once it's topped out, you'd at least be able to work under shelter,'' he said. ''But who the heck knows? Folklore's a funny thing.''
A few sources put the origin further back into Classical times, when eggs and other objects may have been used. But some of the earliest rooftop ceremonies appear to be connected not so much to the building as to the fertility of the animals and women who would live inside - presumably not Marriott's chief concern.
VESTIGES of folklore endure even in high-tech businesses. When the A. H. Robbins Company, a major drug manufacturer, topped out a new plant in Horsham, England, earlier this year, executives tied a yew branch to a chimney ''to ward off evil spirits,'' according to the Pharmaceutical Journal.
At the Norwegian Embassy in Washington, Per Aasen, the press officer, said that he was aware of the custom here, but added, ''I didn't know we had exported it.'' In Norway, he said, the custom is prevalent not only for major buildings, but also for private homes.
''When my parents built our home in the 1930's, this tradition was there,'' he said. The building owner's obligation was to provide a festive meal for the construction workers at such a time, he said, or, if they did not plan to host a party, to mount a scarecrow on the roof instead.
Dating back to pagan days, the topping out ritual has been observed by builders for many centuries. Architect William of Wykeham attended one of the earliest ceremonies on 28 March 1393 for the Winchester School, while English poet Geoffrey Chaucer, who died in 1400, referred to topping out ceremonies in his writing.
In the 14th century, it was customary to put a yew tree branch at the highest point of the building to keep evil spirits at bay. Today, ceremony organisers continue this long-held tradition using sprig of yew or, more sustainably, by presenting an evergreen sapling, to be planted in the landscape.
Medieval records show that the personal flag of the structure’s owner would be hoisted to the top of the building once the shell was complete. According to other historical documents, a weathercock or vane was placed at the summit.
While constructing great mansions, builders would fly coloured flags from the roof to show they needed more materials. Different colours were used to represent stone, brick and timber.
Around the world
There is evidence to suggest that in 2700 AD, the Egyptians used a live tree in a topping out ceremony for the country’s first stone building. Elsewhere, the story goes that a man was buried in the Great Wall of China’s foundations, after builders completed one of the sprawling structure’s sections in 200 BC. According to an ancient legend, 10,000 people had to be buried beneath the wall but rather than meet with this grim requirement, one person was named "Workman 10,000" and sacrificed accordingly.
The topping out ceremony is celebrated around the world. In Brazil, branches and leaves are attached to the building and the workforce eat, drink and dance as part of a ritual known as Fiesta da Cemieira. Meanwhile, in Germany, laurels are hung around the chimney and the builders whilst the Danish decorate the roof of the building with evergreen garlands, while in Jordan, builders hold a religious ceremony followed by a feast.
with the cavity searches being conducted by elves, one doesn't need to bend over
I'm not familiar with its connection to Christmas though I can see how it might be possible.
Did you write that? It's wonderful...
You know what
Puritans have always had tendency to make life grey and sad.
Whatever religious, politically, how to dress, what to read, preferable no music
the list is long.
14 He is making grass grow for the cattle
And vegetation for mankind’s use,
To grow food from the land
15 And wine that makes man’s heart rejoice,
Oil that makes the face shine,
And bread that sustains the heart of mortal man.
Many politicians have been against religion because they thought it would take away from their power and prestige.
Jesus changed water to wine at a wedding feast