English Holly

Frank Vincentz, Image Location: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Ilex_aquifolium
Frank Vincentz, Image Location: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Ilex_aquifolium

Deck the Halls with Boughs of Holly...

Image Location:http://www.flickr.com/photos/shapourbahrami/2074234630/




          Holly and Christmastime have gone hand and hand for centuries. Long before the birth of Christianity, Pagans decorated with evergreens. During Roman times, evergreens, especially Holly, were adopted by Christians as Christmas decorations. Evergreens were seen as symbols of everlasting life and Jesus Christ’s death on the cross. The spiny leaves and red berries symbolized a crown of thorns and drops of blood. Other folklore even identifies holly wood as the wood used to build the cross.



Figure 1: Holly has been a symbol of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ for centuries.


Image Location: http://www.flickr.com/photos/aliedwards/2063356683/

Figure 2: Holly is used to make beautiful Christmas       decorations.           



          Because English Holly was native to Europe, when Europeans came to America they continued the tradition with American Holly (Ilex opaca). During the 20th century Holly became so popular at Christmastime that private landscapes and forests experienced numerous cases of theft. Today, Holly still plays an important part in Christmas celebrations. Its name is heard in countless Christmas songs, its branches are used to make beautiful decorations, and its strong symbolism still holds true.


          English Holly makes its musical debut in a number of popular Christmas tunes including:


1) The Holly and the Ivy (learn more about English Ivy)     

2) Its Beginning to Look A Lot like Christmas

3) Have a Holly, Jolly Christmas

4) Deck the Halls (with Boughs of Holly)

5) Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree

6) Mistletoe and Holly (learn more about European Mistletoe)  

7) Pine Cones and Holly Berries


More interesting facts...





Created By Kaycee Lee Reberg|© April 2009
 University of Wisconsin-La Crosse