Holly and Mistletoe

rambling ratz

Christmas is nearly upon us and many people will be decorating their houses with evergreen cuttings such as holly and mistletoe; but why I hear you ask? Okay, you didn’t ask, but you are wondering now aren’t you? photo of holly berries

The association of these plants with a mid winter festival goes back a long, long way. The Romans had their festival of Saturnalia. This was a feast held in December for the agricultural god, Saturn. They used evergreen decorations, gave gifts and generally had a good time. 

Illustration of Balder's Death Balder’s Death by Mistletoe: Courtesy Wikimedia; Karl (1895)

Yule was a Norse Solstice festival celebrated in honour of Frey, consort of the goddess Freya. He was born to a virgin mother. The Norse god Balder was slain by a spear of mistletoe, he was supposed to return after Doomsday; so we are seeing the familiar natural pattern of new life and resurrected life…

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