"Deck the Halls With Boughs of Holly" is heard often during the holiday season, f •• ^ '»J Everyone knows the

'//» . Ii»1. A song but few realize that the practice harks back to the Roman celebration of Saturnalia, a win-ter-solstice feast celebrated with lascivious abandon.

In the Middle Ages, holly's leaves and berries were cooked into a witches' brew which was believed to bring good luck, heal sprains and broken bones and even cure smallpox. The berries were also used to make a tea which was taken as a general curative.

Although holly provides us with the whitest wood in the world, it is valued more today for the decorative quality of its glossy, spiny, dark green leaves and scarlet berries. The harvesting of holly

Holly is the whitest wood in the world.

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