ivy


ivy
   Used in *Christmas decorations, though apparently considered inferior to holly, judging by a rather obscure 15th-century carol:
   Holly stond in the hall, fayre to behold;
   Ivy stond without the dore, she ys ful sore a-cold.
   Holly and hys mery men, they dawnsyn and they syng;
   Ivy and hur maydenys, they wepen and they wryng.
   That ivy is 'female' is also implied by the custom of the *Holly Boy and Ivy Girl. Victorians saw it as an emblem of the ever-faithful, but dependent, love of wife for the husband to whom she clings as the ivy to the oak.
   However, ivy also has gloomy associations with graveyards and old ruins; some people think it unlucky to have it indoors at any time other than Christmas. Its leaves were used in a *divination on *Twelfth Night (in Cornwall in the 1880s) or *Halloween (in Herefordshire around 1910); they were left overnight in water, and if next morning black spots or coffin-shaped markings had appeared, someone in the household would die that year
   ■ (Opie and Tatem, 1989: 214; Leather, 1912: 65).

A Dictionary of English folklore. . 2014.

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