The Holly & The Ivy

Holly, Ivy and Mistletoe are the most prominent green plants in British native woodland during the winter, and for this reason they have earned respect from the early country-dwellers and a place in holiday traditions.

Holly & IvyIn ancient English village life there was a midwinter custom of holding singing-contests between men and women, where the men sang carols praising holly for its masculine qualities and disparaging ivy, while women sang songs praising the ivy for its feminine qualities and disparaging holly. The resolution between the two was under the mistletoe. When a couple kisses under the mistletoe, a berry is to be plucked from the bush. When the berries are all plucked the kissing privileges cease.

Why kiss under mistletoe? From the earliest times mistletoe has been one of the most magical, mysterious and sacred plants of European folklore. It was believed to bestow life and fertility and used an aphrodisiac.


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