The Plants of Christmas
The plants traditionally associated with Christmas were Holly,Mistletoe, Ivy and Common Yew. These trees and plants have had special roles in earlier religions and past cultures.
The Celts in Ireland had midwinter festivals to celebrate the return of the sun from the shortest day.
In the 4th and 5th centuries, 25 December was gradually adopted as the date for Christmas in Europe in order to superimpose on the existing mid-winter festivals.
The Roman festival of Saturnalia was a week of public feasting, dancing, singing and gambling. Houses were decorated with evergreens and bunches of holly were given as tokens of friendship. When this festival was absorbed into the Christian calendar, Holly and the other evergreens were absorbed as well.
Fire and Celebration
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