Thursday, 5 December 2013

E is for...Evergreen


The traditional colours of Christmas are red and green. The red symbolises the blood of Jesus when he was crucified. The green shows the evergreen leaves throughout the winter and the continuance of life. Mixed together they show where Christmas gets it origins from – Christian beliefs combined with ancient pagan rituals.

The spiky holly leaves symbolises the thorns in the crown Jesus was made to wear on the crucifix with its red berries the drops of blood.The Christmas carol of 'The Holly the Ivy' tells how, 'the holly bears the crown.' Whilst this is obviously a nod to Jesus' crucifixion crown it was also thought by men that holly was a strong, masculine plant and ivy a feminine plant. So songs began to appear being sung by men praising the holly and putting down the ivy. Women did the same thing by literally singing their praises of ivy. More of the masculine songs have survived over the years than the feminine ones. Perhaps I should seek out a new plate...

Another evergreen still popular today is mistletoe. In ancient times mistletoe was considered a scared plant. The practice of kissing under the mistletoe comes from an old fertility ritual. Mistletoe is a parasitic plant that grows on other deciduous trees. This coupled with its forked branches and white berries gives it a rather sexual. Indeed, some churches to this day ban it from being used as decorations.

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