Holly and ivy have a great significance since the pagan time when even the Christianity wasn't there. Holly and ivy leaves are evergreen, and as such were used at that time as decorations to celebrate the Winter Solstice festival and to appreciate the new growth to come. When Christianity came in to existence, use of these green leaves remained in spite of many objections. Today, it has emerged as a custom to decorate the holy church and homes with these leaves on Christmas. "The Holly & the Ivy" is a very famous Christmas carol, which actually depicts a vast meaning in it. According to a popular Christian belief, the prickly leaves resemble the crown of thorns of Jesus Christ, wore at the time of crucifixion, whereas Ivy plant recalls people that they should stick to God to get His blessings and support in their lives as Ivy plants needs the same to grow and flourish. Apart from these, there are few superstitions regarding the holly and the ivy. Check out their symbolism.
Holly and Ivy Symbolism
Here are some superstitions and religious beliefs related to holly and ivy and their symbolism on Christmas.
Holly and Ivy Superstitions
- Christmas evergreens represent endurance while the berries represent resurrection of life. Since the 15th century, holly and ivy were essential part of Christmas decorations for church.
- If the holly used for Christmas decorations is smooth, the wife will be master.
- If the holly used for Christmas decorations is prickly, the husband is the master.
- Prudent couples use both kinds of hollies on Christmas to assure balanced and harmonious home.
- Holly was used as a protection against witches, evil spirits and thunder.
- Holly leaves were scratched with the initials of the close admirers by the unmarried girls and sown into night clothing or kept under their pillow. It was said that it would bring them dream of their future husband. For this charm to be more effective, a borrowed wedding ring was worn on the third finger of the left hand.
- Holly is regarded as a masculine plant and ivy a feminine one, hence, too much ivy is believed to bring bad luck.
- A leaf of ivy was left in a bowl of water on Hogmany (New Years Eve) until the eve of Twelfth Night (Little Christmas) on 6th January. If it remained fresh and green a good year was expected. If it withered and had black spots by the end, ill health was prophesized.
- It was must to remove all leftovers of greenery and children had to gather all the Yuletide decorations.
- Good luck followed those who found a holly bush loaded with berries while removing Christmas greenery.
- Holly leaves should not be removed from the Christmas decorations before Epiphany Eve (Jan. 5)