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Holly meaning

The plant with a thousand names

Holly, whose scientific name is Ilex aquifolium, is known under different names, some common, others less common: we are talking about aquifolium, or thorny laurel, or holly, the plant is always that of holly. Able to reach ten meters in height, it is immediately recognizable by the sharp, bright green leaves veined with white or beige, and by the bright red berries. Precisely the delightful chromatic contrast is the basis of its beauty and its ambiguous meaning. Always a beloved plant to brighten up the winter holidays, it was used even before the advent of Christian Christmas, for the properties attributed to it as a good luck charm and chase away spirits. Unmissable during the pagan festivals of the winter solstice,

The double meaning of the holly


Giving a holly seedling as a gift can have a different meaning depending on the context and intentions; its particular chromatic conformation, in fact, makes it a real labyrinth of meanings. Shrub with evergreen leaves, it is an affectionate wish for longevity and serenity; on the other hand, the sharp branches conceal another meaning, underlining, more or less ironically, the thorniness of the recipient’s character. Similarly, the meaning of holly berries is not univocal: it has always been good luck, red also recalls blood, emphasizing the aggressiveness of the person who receives the gift. sprig of holly is clear: luck, happiness and wish for success. Always used as a spirit-chasing plant,

The holly and its ancient meaning


There is no more favorite plant than holly at Christmas. The reason is simple: its meaning has always been linked to the winter holidays for the solstice, even before the advent of Christianity. Everything seems to start in Ireland, when holly was the only decorative plant widespread enough in nature to not require purchases of goods or money: all the doors of the villages and the interior of the houses, at that time, were dotted with greenery and red of the cheap twigs, to greet the beginning of true winter. Plant without social class, therefore loved for its ability to unite different people, in the full meaning of the Christmas spirit, since then it will always find a place in homes, as a sincere wish for good and luck.

Holly meaning: The meaning of holly at Christmas


The arrival of Christianity partially changes pagan customs, absorbing and transforming them: the pointed leaves of the holly, then, recall the crown of thorns of Christ’s martyrdom, and the red of the fruits takes on the meaning of shed blood. Christmas tradition attributes to Jesus himself, a newborn on Christmas night, the merit of the beautiful colors of the plant: a child, who came to Bethlehem to give the newborn a laurel wreath, burst into tears in front of the grotto, convinced of the unworthiness of the gift, she saw it change into a marvelous bright green plant, among whose fronds budded red fruits, born from her tears of despair. Since then the holly will take on the meaning of charity and disinterested affection towards friends and strangers.

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