Holly Discover the Christmas custom, story, myth and legend associated with
Holly. This festive tradition and Christmas custom, with its familiar symbol and meaning, has evolved over time.
But what is the history, meaning and origin of Holly?
This article provides facts and information about the history of
as a familiar symbol, tradition and custom of our Christmas today.
Holly remains green throughout the winter, thus symbolizing renewal.
What is Holly?
What is Holly? Definition: Holly is
defined as a tree or shrub of the genus Ilex. The European species
Ilex Aquifolium is best known, having glossy green leaves, with a
spiny, waved edge, and bearing berries that turn red or yellow about
Michaelmas. The holly is used to adorn churches and houses, at
Christmas time, and hence is associated with scenes of good will and
rejoicing. It is an evergreen tree, and has a fine grained, heavy,
white wood. The American holly is the Ilex opaca. Commercial holly,
called Meserve Holly, was hybridized by Kathleen Meserve on Long Island,
New York in the 1950's. It is hardier than wild forms with brighter
berries and glossier leaves. Also, unlike English holly, it can
survive temperatures as low -20°F.
The Legend of
the Holly According to legend the "crown of thorns"
of Jesus Christ was of holly and that the
berries turned from white to red after His crucifixion.
The Origin and
History of Holly
Some origins date back to the pagan
traditions and customs of the ancients. Other symbols, customs and
traditions have specific religious significance to the Christian
religion and the Nativity of Jesus Christ. And finally there are
many new, non-religious customs which have emerged due to increased prosperity and the
commercialism of the festival in the modern world.
The origin and history of Holly is pagan. It was banned
in 1647 by the English parliament under Oliver Cromwell due to its
pagan connections. Holly was
regarded as an excellent form of protection for all manner of things
but specifically against evil spirits, poisons, thunder and
lightning and the evil eye.
Custom & History of Holly - Symbol of Fertility
Evergreen plants, such as Holly, are rooted in pagan
religions, some dating back thousands of years to the Ancient
Egyptians. In winter, when everything is brown and
dead, evergreen plants, such as Holly, are manifestations of the abiding life within
the plant-world, and evergreens may well have been used as
sacramental means of contact with the spirit of growth and
fertility. Particularly precious would be evergreen plants like
Holly, which actually bears fruit in the
Holly was believed to have many healing powers when used
as a herb. It has been used for asthma, rheumatism, gout and dropsy.
The History and
Origins of Holly - The Celtic Druids The most celebrated
festivals of the Celts and their priests, who were called Druids, were held
in honour of the return of the sun which at the winter solstice
begins gradually to regain power and to ascend in the horizon. The
Druids worshipped the sun which included prayers and offerings to
their Sun God to ensure that the sun returned to give them a good
summer. The Druids also revered the Ivy and especially
Mistletoe. Holly was used by people in
Britain to protect their homes from evil spirits. Witches were said
to be deterred from entering a house because of the holly's prickly
leaves and by its reputation for holiness (the word holly derives
from the word holy).
The History of Holly -
Superstitions There are several
old superstitions surrounding the holly. Holly was believed to bring
Holly Christmas is
celebrated worldwide, throughout the Christian population of
2275 million people,
but is also celebrated by many non-Christians as a secular, cultural
festival. A Christmas custom or tradition is symbolized by a familiar symbol or icon, such as
Holly, have come to represent the spirit
and meaning of this special time of the year.
The history, meaning and origin of
this familiar symbol
Meaning and origin of this traditional Christmas custom
History, Facts and information
about customs, symbols and traditions
Meaning, history and origin of
A Religious Christian
meaning, Pagan origins or a Modern custom?
Christmas, have a happy and prosperous