The Jesse tree is not something that has been passed down through my maternal or paternal grandparents but was introduced to my cousine Sadé and me through the nuns at the Catholic schools we attended through our our scholastic academic careers residing in the Créole city, New Orleans. Since living in the Saint Charles Streetcar House, in the upcoming weeks, I will be creating our first Jesse tree. This will be the week of Jour de l’grace (Thanksgivings).
What is a Jesse tree? A Jesse tree is symbol for Jesse the father of Roi(King) David and the référence to Jésus ancestry lineage to Jesse in the book of Isaiah.
How is a Jesse tree made?
A Jesse tree is made in different ways and there is no right way to create one. Some Jesse trees have stumps, some do not. Some Jesse trees are made of branches or sticks. And some Jesse trees are made of leaves.
For Holy Days and special occasions, us Créoles/Métis of Lower Louisiana (the State of Louisiana) decorate with rameau Blessed (Blessed Magnolia branches and leaves). For Noël (Christmas), Créoles/Métis of Upper Louisiana, I am referring to Missouri Créoles/Métis, use branches and leaves and create a tree out of the collected branches and leaves on a wall. Use these to elements of my Creole/Métis culture and heritage, I will create a Creole Jesse tree.
I have one corner of our front room of the Saint Charles Streetcar House that I have in mind for displaying our Creolized Jesse tree. Rameau Blessed will be gathered from the gardens of the St. Charles Streetcar House. I am uncertain at this very moment if I will use a Sassafras stump to represent Jesse.
The Jesse Tree is like an advent calendar the nuns at the Catholic schools I attended over my scholastic career and my cousine Sadé participated in handing up the ornaments and reciting the scriptures associated with each day. We we the only members of my Maman’s family that we’re familiar with the Jesse tree and create on at the beginning of December.
My Maman’s family were Baptists (a branch from the Catholic religion) with a few of my Cousines Catholics. I am not aware of my tante Cheryl and Cousines creating a Jesse tree and hanging the ornaments.
When the beloved Jesse tree is thought of, one doesn’t think of Créoles and/or Métis, as if this advent tree is apart of their culture. In fact there are some that wonder if the Jesse tree has any association to Catholicism.