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Legend states that holly berries were originally white, but that the blood Christ shed for the sins of humankind stained the berries forever red.

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A holly's pointed leaves symbolize the crown of thorns placed on Jesus' head before he died on the cross. Holly is known as christdorn in German, meaning "Christ thorn. One claims that the cross on which Jesus was crucified was constructed of holly. Another says that holly sprang up from his footsteps. Less common symbolism includes the holly's white blossoms representing purity, and the idea that if the holly used to decorate a home for Christmas is prickly, the man will rule the house for the coming year; but if the holly used is smooth, the woman will rule. The town of Milton, Del.

State of Delaware ]. How to Make a Christmas Wreath. Why do we decorate with holly at Christmas? Christians consider holly symbolic of the crown of thorns worn by Jesus when he died on the cross. The flowers are sometimes eaten by the larva of the double-striped pug moth Gymnoscelis rufifasciata. Other Lepidoptera whose larvae feed on holly include Bucculatrix ilecella , which feeds exclusively on hollies, and the engrailed Ectropis crepuscularia. Holly can contain caffeic acid , caffeoyl derivatives, caffeoylshikimic acid , chlorogenic acid , feruloylquinic acid , quercetin , quinic acid , kaempferol , tannins , rutin , caffeine , and theobromine.

Why do we decorate with holly at Christmas?

Holly berries can cause vomiting and diarrhea. They are especially dangerous in cases involving accidental consumption by children attracted to the bright red berries. Holly leaves, if eaten, might cause diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and stomach and intestinal problems. Holly plants might be toxic to pets and livestock. Leaves of some holly species are used by some cultures to make daily tea. These species are Yerba mate I. Leaves of other species, such as gallberry I.

Holly — more specifically the European holly, Ilex aquifolium — is commonly referenced at Christmas time, and is often referred to by the name Christ's thorn. Since medieval times the plant has carried a Christian symbolism , [37] as expressed in the well-known Christian Christmas carol " The Holly and the Ivy ", in which the holly represents Jesus and the ivy represents the Virgin Mary.

Holly (Ilex aquifolium)

Christians have identified a wealth of symbolism in its form. The sharpness of the leaves help to recall the crown of thorns worn by Jesus; the red berries serve as a reminder of the drops of blood that were shed for salvation ; and the shape of the leaves, which resemble flames, can serve to reveal God's burning love for His people. Combined with the fact that holly maintains its bright colors during the Christmas season , it naturally came to be associated with the Christian holiday. In heraldry , holly is used to symbolize truth. The Norwegian municipality of Stord has a yellow twig of holly in its Coat-of-arms.

The Druids held that "leaves of holly offered protection against evil spirits" and thus "wore holly in their hair". In the Harry Potter novels, holly is used as the wood in Harry 's wand. He is born at Midsummer and rules from Mabon to Ostara. A contorted hedgehog holly Ilex aquifolium 'Ferox'.

What does holly look like?

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. For other uses, see Holly disambiguation and Ilex disambiguation. Not to be confused with Holy. Ilex pernyi from west China. Retrieved 27 November Retrieved 19 February Archived from the original on 3 May Archived from the original on 26 July Archived from the original on 6 September Archived from the original on 5 June The plants of Virgil's Georgics.

Skeat, Walter William Principles of English etymology, Volume 1.

Christmas Traditions and Customs

An etymological dictionary of the French language. An etymological dictionary of the English language.

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Contributions to Latin lexicography. Aquifoliaceae on a World-wide scale".

Holly Society of America

Plant diversity and complexity patterns: Kongelige Danske videnskabernes selskab. Retrieved 9 April Retrieved 11 December The mountain holly Nemopanthus mucronatus: Aquifoliaceae revisited with molecular data. Giberti; Lidia Poggio American Journal of Botany. Neal Stewart Jr; Svetlana Zivanovic Chilean Journal of Agricultural Research. Retrieved 3 March Retrieved 9 March Retrieved 2 March Christmas History and Customs.

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In Germany and Scandinavia the holly, or holy tree, is called "Christ's thorn," from its use in church decorations, and because it bears berries at Christmas-tide. Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. Holly is still a popular Christmas decoration among Christian cultures. The Book of Christmas.

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