This series I'm working on isn't to say who's right and who's wrong. It's not about "get your facts straight" or "That's our holiday". The entire purpose here is to point out the similarities between the different customs and show that we're really not all that different.
We don't have to have quoted the correct website or have the exact same traditions in order to be given respect. We are all different and our lives are made up of many threads from all around the world. By saying "This is the right way" or "This is the only way" so much of this wonderful view is taken from you.
This is MY take on what I've read about Holly.
Llex Aquifolium or Holly has over 300 species which includes climbers bushes and trees. It is an evergreen that is characterized by shiny leaves with thorns. The berries usually red in color ripen in the winter and are slightly toxic to humans when eaten but are a food source for birds in the winter months.
During Saturnalia festivals Holly was used as it is considered the sacred plant of Saturn. Gifts of Holly were used for decoration and as offerings during this time of year. Some Christians associate holly with "Christ" relating the thorns to the crown he wore and the red berries his blood.
From the Druids who used the plant for protection, to the Romans who used it as an offering Holly has made it's way around the world. In parts of Britain holly was called "Christmas" and in pre-victorian time holly bushes were called "Christmas Trees". Some Germanic cultures believed that stepping on the berries was bad luck, but placing a bough of the plant in a barn would help your livestock to fatten up and be prosperous though the winter.
Our ancient pagan ancestors were said to have made wreaths of ivy and holly for decorations in the winter months. Ivy with its ties to Bacchus, the Roman God of Wine and the holly for Saturnalia.
Even the name Holly, was thought to be the root of the Christian word "Holy" taken from the Pagan's who believed that "Holly" was sacred.
Today I decided that for my landscaping needs I plan to plant some holly around my property.
Sharing a wonderful salute to Holly by Loreena McKennitt.
And for those of us that are a bit more childlike (like me)
Namaste and Blessed Be
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