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The Real Meaning Of A Bottle Tree In Someone's Yard
When visiting the American South, if you see colored bottles upended over the tips of tree branches or the arms of a metal stand, you're looking at what is called a bottle tree.
Traditionally, bottles were posted on crepe myrtle, a tree that's symbolized freedom since biblical times. These days, though, some trees are made entirely
of metal.
Bottle trees are a celebration of Southern culture and a paean to the past. In the ninth century, bottles may have been used to mark graveyards as part of a funeral ritual.
By the 17th century, with the Atlantic slave trade at its height, displaced people continued the tradition, marking graves and using available materials to create bottle trees.
Part of the belief was that sunlight reflected in the colored glass attracted sinister apparitions, trapping these spirits inside and preventing them from entering a nearby house.
Cobalt blue is the most popular glass color used because it represents both water and sky. Bottle trees were located near houses, important meeting places, and crossroads.
Installing a bottle tree in the garden today can be an homage to the past. Constructing one can be every bit as respectful and reverent as trees made hundreds of years ago.