Holly and greenery at Christmas
Christmas will be here soon and many of us will be decorating our homes with beautiful bright Christmas plants. Some of the Christmas plants include mistletoe, poinsettia, Christmas wreaths, Christmas trees, Holly and more. Here’s some quick facts and history on these plants and why they are used at Christmas.
Mistletoe (Viscum album)
One of the many plants famously used at Christmas is mistletoe also known as the kissing plants. A Scandinavian myth believes the poisonous plants were used, as a peace offering after a goddess’ was heart broken after the plant killed her son. The tears of the goddess became the berries of the plants therefore making the plant sacred as “mistletoe would never again be used as a weapon and that she would place a kiss on anyone who passed under it.” Mistletoe relates to Christmas, as the Druids believed mistletoe protected people against evil and used the plant to produce cures. Modern use as a seasonal plant around Christmas time started, as young druids would use mistletoe to signify the New Year.
Poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima)
The poinsettia plant is beautiful therefore it’s no wonder this has been a symbol of Christmas for many many years. According to a legend, a poor young girl was upset after had nothing to offer her church on Christmas. So the girl presented bright and green weeds that she found close to the church. During the service on Christmas eve these weeds turned into the beautiful red star-shaped flowers (poinsettia). The meaning of these flowers represent offering gifts of humility therefore the perfect flower at Christmas known as the ‘Holy Night Flower’
Christmas Wreath and Tree
The Christmas wreath is often seen on doors and used as decorations around Christmas starting from pagan roots. Before the spread of Christianity these wreaths were a symbol in the wintertime as they had strength and unity. This symbolism was particular important in winter to enable those facing the hazards of cold weather to show strength. The circle of the wreath is a symbol of eternal life a strong message at Christmas time. According to legends the pine trees used as Christmas trees signify the trinity of Creator, Son and Holy Spirit with the triangular outline.
Holly (Ilex aquifolium)
History finds that holly grew around footsteps of Jesus Christ and the thorny leaves and red berries symbolise the blood shed from Jesus on the cross. Holly is known as ‘Christ’s Thorn’ in northern European countries. The sharp leaves are a representation of the crown of thorns Jesus wore as he was crucified. The bright red berries of the holly plant are a symbol of the drops of blood shed from Jesus. Therefore Holly is and still is a very strong Christian symbol of Christmas and Sweet Pea has made lots of beautiful Christmas designs featuring Holly.