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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. ~~~
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