The Holly and the Ivy: Battle of the Sexes Preserved In Song

Grand Gallimaufry

I’m fascinated by the ancient origins of various holiday traditions, and occasionally go in search of their roots by way of a good, old fashioned Google search.  Today I had an additional motivating factor: I was searching for the perfect names for two special characters in my latest story.  I’ve decided to name them Holly and Ivy, for they are the perfect opposites, yin and yang.

What follows is an abridged version of The Holly and the Ivy, Meaning Behind a Curious Christmas Carol  by David Beaulieu.  The tale of this song’s origins is a fascinating and convoluted blend of Paganism and Christianity, with religious overtones masking its more esoteric meaning.

“Those of you familiar with “The Holly and the Ivy” have perhaps puzzled over the meaning behind this old (17th-18th century) Christmas carol.  Before we get to the lyrics of “The Holly and the Ivy,” let’s back up a bit…

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