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Legend of the Holly
In ancient times, holly was considered
magical and sacred because of its shiny leaves
and ability to bear fruit in winter.
The Druids believed that holly,
with its shiny leaves and red berries
stayed green to keep the earth beautiful
when the sacred oak lost it leaves.
It was believed that if you hung holly
over your bed, you would have good dreams.
At one time, holly was connected to the
mythical Holly King - patron king of the winter
solstice.  As the Winter Solstice Festivals
evolved, holly remained a part of the
holiday celebrations.
Holly was the sacred plant of  Saturn
and was used at the Roman Saturnalia festival to
honor him.
 Romans gave one another holly wreaths and carried
them about decorating images of Saturn with it.
Centuries later, in December,
 while other Romans continued their pagan worship,
Christians celebrated the birth of Jesus.
 To avoid persecution, they decked their homes with
Saturnalia holly.
As Christian numbers increased and their customs
prevailed, holly lost its pagan association
and became a symbol of Christmas.
And, along with ivy and mistletoe,
holly remains a popular form of decorative
Christmas greenery today.

Christian tradition assigns significance to Holly:
According to tradition the pointy leaves
represent the thorns of Christ's Crown.
The perennial green leaves represent eternal life.
The red berries represent the blood shed for our salvation.
There is even a tradition that holly was used to make
the crown of thorns.
At that time, the berries were yellow.
In honor to the blood shed by Christ,
the berries turned red.
 While holy is most often pictured as having
red berries, the berries come in other colors too.
One tradition say that white berries
represent Jesus' purity...
green berries the cross of wood...
and black berries his death.

The Legend Of Holly

 The holly berry that burns so red
(Raise high the holly!)
Once was whiter than wheaten bread
(As love is better than folly.)

 Whiter than shells along the shore
It blooms on its tree by a stable door.

Villagers come there, half afraid,
Gifts in their hands for Child and Maid.

And one has nothing of note, so he
Fetches a branch of the holly tree.

Alas, alas, the little Newborn
Has pricked His finger upon a thorn,

Has left His blood on the spiny leaves.
Heavy of heart the holly grieves,
Sees in a terrible vision how
A crown of holly shall bind His brow
When Child is man.

 For sorrow and shame
The berries have blushed as red as flame.
Says Mary the Mother,
"Take no blame.

"But be of good cheer as ever you can.
Both foul and fair are the works of man,

"Yet unto man has My Son been lent.
And you, dear tree, are the innocent

"Who weeps for pity what man might do.
So all your thorns are forgiven you."

Now red, rejoicing, the berries shine
On jubilant doors as a Christmas sign

That desolation to joy makes way.
(Hang high the holly!)
Holly is the symbol of Christ's Birthday.
(When love shall vanquish folly.)
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