Christmas tree, Saturnalia, Misletoe, etc.

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“…Evergreen trees were important fertility emblems for pre-Christian ceremonies marking the winter solstice. People from ancient societies believed that by decorating their homes and temples with evergreen plants, such as holly, ivy and mistletoe, they were helping to carry the diminished sun through a critical period. . . . Mistletoe was the most sacred plant of the Druids. . . . [It] was given great reverence . . . because it grows on the venerated oak. The custom of kissing under the mistletoe comes from the ancient idea that mistletoe is the oak’s genitals. And so it was believed that an embrace under its glistening berries was sure guarantee of a fruitful union. . . . The decoration of Christmas trees is a survival of pagan tree veneration. . . . For centuries before Christianity, holly was . . . used . . . for celebrating their midwinter Saturnalia…”

Dallas Morning News (December 6, 1986)

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