So, understandably, in the freezing depths of winter, when all other life seemed to have disappeared from the world, these same pagan peoples brought evergreens into their homes, partly in the hope that some of their magical protection might rub off on them.
Our Roman ancestors considered evergreens lucky and during the feast of Saturnalia they too decorated their homes with boughs of holly and the like. And thanks to their connections with the concept of eternal life, it is easy to see how evergreens came to be such a central part of the Christian feast of Christmas, seeing as how the Church teaches that Jesus rose from the dead to eternal life himself, and offers the same to his faithful servants.
The presence of evergreen plants in the home during the festive season has lived on in several forms; through the Christmas tree, carols such as ‘The Holly and the Ivy’ and ‘Deck the hall with bough of holly’, and of course with the Christmas wreath.
Did you know...?
The most popular girl's name in December 2008 was... Holly! The Office for National Statistics published its findings and overall, throughout the year, Holly came 22nd on the list of most popular girls' names. And a suitably seasonal names for a boy, Gabriel, was a high climber, up 14 places to the number 78 slot.