𝗛𝗼𝗹𝗹𝘆 𝘁𝗵𝗲 𝗺𝗼𝘀𝘁 𝗳𝗲𝘀𝘁𝗶𝘃𝗲 𝗼𝗳 𝗳𝗼𝗹𝗶𝗮𝗴𝗲!⁣
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It is rich in mythology and magic and so I wanted to explore the tradition and folklore behind this evergreen queen.⁣
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Holly has always been a symbol of 𝗴𝗼𝗼𝗱 𝗹𝘂𝗰𝗸 and 𝗽𝗿𝗼𝘁𝗲𝗰𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻. In Ancient Rome, gifts were decorated with holly sprigs. A wreath made of holly represents the 𝗰𝗶𝗿𝗰𝗹𝗲 𝗼𝗳 𝗹𝗶𝗳𝗲 with the faith that the sun will come back following a dark winter.⁣
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In the highlands, people would be 𝘄𝗵𝗶𝗽𝗽𝗲𝗱 with prickly holly with each drop of blood bringing 𝗴𝗼𝗼𝗱 𝗳𝗼𝗿𝘁𝘂𝗻𝗲 to the lucky recipient 😳!⁣
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Holly in hedgerows prevents witches running along them and it would be planted near homes to protect them from fire, lightening and of course 𝗲𝘃𝗶𝗹 𝗵𝗲𝘅𝗲𝘀.⁣
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𝗧𝗼𝗽 𝘁𝗶𝗽: any red berries tend to be a charm against evil!⁣
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Amazingly though the use to protect against lightening may have some science behind it as the holly leaves can act as miniature lightning conductors, thereby protecting the tree and other nearby objects.⁣
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The Druids said holly is a place of rest for 𝘄𝗼𝗼𝗱 𝘀𝗽𝗶𝗿𝗶𝘁𝘀 so it would be bad luck to cut down a holly tree. ⁣
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In the Wiccan tradition there is an eternal battle between the oak king and the holly king. The oak king is defeated by the holly king at summer solstice and at winter solstice the oak king reclaims his throne.⁣
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However, holly is not just for pagans – it is also symbolic of Christ with the thorns and berries representing the 𝗯𝗹𝗼𝗼𝗱 𝗼𝗳 𝗖𝗵𝗿𝗶𝘀𝘁 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗰𝗿𝗼𝘄𝗻 𝗼𝗳 𝘁𝗵𝗼𝗿𝗻𝘀 and so a fitting decoration for Christmas.⁣
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For the animals, holly not only would make a great nutritious feed during the winter but could be used to control horses so much so whips made of holly were used by coachmen ⁣
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Finally, on Christmas Eve holly could be used to bring dreams of a future lover 😍! ⁣
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The berries are slightly toxic so not the best to nibble on but the leaves have been used in teas for coughs, colds and flus.