What could be wrong with holly? It's so innocent and so many churches decorate with it, even Bible believing ones that don't have much use for ChristMass.
Holly, as the sacred plant of Saturn, was used by the Romans at the festival of Saturnalia. They made holly wreaths which they gave to each other as gifts and used to decorate images of Saturn. It is said that weak Christians would decorated their homes with holly to avoid persecution.
Many superstions surround the holly plant. Some believe that it brings peace and under a tree of it is an ideal place to settle disagreements. According to some it is said to frighten away witches and goblins. Some use it to "protect" the home from litghtening. This charm especially "works" if the the piece of holly was formerly used to decorate a church according to some Germans. It is also used on bed posts to bring sweet dreams.
Some British farmers put holly on their bee hives. This apparently stems from a legend that bees hummed in honor of the Christ child.
Some English also speak of the "he holly and the she holly." This comes from a belief that these determine who will rule in a household the following year. The "she holly" is smooth leaved and the "he holly" is prickly.
So much for decking "the halls with boughs of
Ivy is used more in England for a ChristMass green than in the USA. For those who use ivy for ChristMass greenery -
To pagans ivy was a symbol of eternal life. So-called Christians tried to make it a symbol of eternal life and new promise. Considered feeble and clinging - feminine even; it is unlike the sturdy, masculine holly.
"It was the ancient symbol of Bacchus, the god of wine and revelry."(1)
Bacchus, or Dionysus, worship was an extremely wicked and vile idolatry.
(See the info. in the C.S. Lewis article: Dionysus
- no one under 18 please)
The laural leaf was sacred to the sun god Apollo according to Roman custom. This is no doubt why it was/is used to make wreaths for the Ceasars and important people. ("He's won his laurals.")
Pagan "christians" used it to symbolize the triumph of humanity represented in Jesus as the Son of Man.
Laural is also known as bay. The bay tree is the true laural of the ancients times. Because it is scarce in England cherry laural, Portugal laural and others are used instead.
There is a British carol about the three wisemen that says:
"We come walking with our staves, Wreathed with laurel"
Another ChristMass green, rosemary was used during the Middle Ages to spread on the floor for it aromatic qualities when walked on.
It was superstiously believed to be very offensive to evil spirits. This led pagan "christians" to invent the legend that Mary laid "baby Jesus' " garments on branches of it, thus causing its' fragrant aroma. They, no doubt, thought it fitting that their "Jesus" should be protected from devils by this old wives' tale.
The name "rosemary" itself has a connection to goddess worsip of the "Virgin Mary."
Rosemary is used chiefly for flavoring food
Mistletoe, the famous kissing bough, is a parasite that lives off of the host tree which it attaches itself to. It has been considered sacred for centuries to various pagans.
Druids used it in their sacrifices to devils. The Celts believed it held supernatural healing power. (Its' very name in Celtic means "all-heal.")
It was also though to render poisin harmless, increase fruitfulness of both animal and man, protect against witchcraft, and protect from ghosts. It supposedly brought good luck to those who had it.
Norsemen had a symbolic lie about it which ties in directly to the sun-god legend (Motther/Child cult) that ChristMass really centers around. They said that it was sacred to Frigga, goddess of love, who was the mother of Balder the sun god. "Balder had a dream of death which greatly alarmed his mother, for should he die, all life on earth would end. In an attempt to keep this from happening, Frigga went at once to air, fire, water, earth, and every animal and plant seeking a promise that no harm would come to her son. Balder now could not be hurt by anything on earth or under the earth. But Balder had one enemy, Loki, god of evil and he knew of one plant that Frigga had overlooked in her quest to keep her son safe. It grew neither on the earth nor under the earth, but on apple and oak trees. It was lowly mistletoe. So Loki made an arrow tip of the mistletoe, gave to the blind god of winter, Hoder, who shot it , striking Balder dead. The sky paled and all things in earth and heaven wept for the sun god. For three days each element tried to bring Balder back to life. He was finally restored by Frigga, the goddess and his mother. It is said the tears she shed for her son turned into the pearly white berries on the mistletoe plant and in her joy Frigga kissed everyone who passed beneath the tree on which it grew." (1)
Thus, the end of the story is, of course, that all who stand under the
mistletoe should not be harmed, but receive a kiss in token of love - sun
god "love," that is!