Even before Christianity, the importance of holly and ivy existed in several communities. Nowadays however, they have become inevitable elements of Christmas celebrations worldwide and are also considered as means to welcome a New Year with prosperity and good health. In the famous Christmas carol, 'The Holly & the Ivy', their importance is clearly depicted. According to popular Christian beliefs, the prickly leaves of holly represent the crown of thorns that Jesus Christ wore for his crucifixion while, its red berries are seen as signifying the blood that he shed for humankind. As for the ivy plant, it grows only with support of other plants and/or trees and hence, signifies that we need God to grow and so we should ask for his forgiveness and support. Being as significant as they are, both these plants have quite a few superstitions and myths associated with them. Scroll further and find out the various beliefs that revolve around these two evergreen plants.
Holly & Ivy Beliefs & Myths
You would be familiar with the Christmas decorative plants of Holly and Ivy. Read more and find out some popular myths and superstitions about these evergreen Christmas plants.
Holly & Ivy Superstitions
- It is believed that if the holly used for the decoration of a house is smooth, then the wife of the house will be the head for the coming year and if the holly is prickly, then the man of the house will be in control. Also, if both kinds of hollies are used while decorating a house, it suggests a very balanced and harmonious year for the household.
- Holly is considered to have protective powers against lightning and witches.
- Young, unmarried girls scratch the initials of their admirers or lovers on the leaves of holly and keep it in their night dress or under their pillow while sleeping with a belief that by doing so, they will see their future husband in their dream. In order to make this charm more effective, a borrowed wedding ring is placed on the third finger of their left hand.
- In some beliefs, holly is considered to be masculine whereas ivy has a feminine association to it and your selection of either is also said to determine if the household would be male or female dominated.
- Despite being as pretty as it is, ivy, when used in excess, is believed to bring bad luck.
- Some people, on the eve of New Year, place a leaf of ivy in a bowl of water and let it stay till 6th January, the eve of Twelfth Night. The fate of this ivy sprig is believed to predict what the upcoming year will be like. If the leaf remains fresh and green throughout, a great year is expected while, if the leaf develops black spots and withers, then a year of ill health is anticipated.
- It is a must to remove all the remains of the green decorations from the house after Christmas. While doing this, the one who finds a holly bush laden with berries will find good luck in the coming year.
- Holly leaves are not supposed to be removed from the Christmas decorations until the Epiphany Eve i.e., 5th January.
- In order to bring good luck to their homes, people decorate them with ivy, holly, mistletoe and rosemary. It is even considered bad luck to burn holly or even cut down an oak tree with mistletoe growth.
- In ancient times, ivy symbolized marriage and fidelity. It is still used for wedding decorations, usually in the form of wreaths, crowns or garlands. It is considered bad luck to use only ivy for the decorations.
- Holly has been used since ancient times as a symbol of immortality and good fortune. It is given to the newlyweds to bless them with a happy and fertile married life.
With all the superstitions revolving around holly and ivy, the extent of the fame of these evergreens is barely a surprise. Hope you enjoyed reading this piece and the information herein.