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Holly was used to decorate Roman temples during the Pagan winter festival of Saturnalia. In the land that became Germany during the Middle Ages holly and other evergreen plants were hung inside dwellings because superstitious Teutonic people hoped woodland spirits could rest there and escape very cold weather outside. Celtic people believed that the Holly King ruled over the time when the days were lengthening so the winter solstice was the start of his rule. Holly and ivy were used in rituals which it was believed would help nature survive the hardest time of the year.