Large porcelain plate, decorated with traditional symnols of an ancient winter holiday, still full with magic of the season. Mistletoe, holly and birds.
At every summer's end, the Holly King fought and won a battle with the Oak King for the rulership of the year, and reigned supreme over the dark season. At the end of the winter, another battle was fought, this time won by the Oak King, who ruled triumphantly over the summer months. This ancient drama was enacted in the medieval romance of 'Gawain and the Green Knight,' where the giant Green Knight enters Arthur's court at the New Year bearing a great bush of holly as his insignia. He and one of Arthur's knights, Sir Gawain, whose name means the Hawk of May, engage in a beheading contest. Gawain, who as his name suggests, symbolizes the waxing year, strikes off the head of the Green Knight, but the Knight, who is magically still alive, will do the same to him next time around meaning, no doubt, at summer's end.
During the dark and barren days of winter, holly has always been prized for its fresh green leaves and bright berries, signifying the green of growth and fertility and the red or blood, a tree of hope and a reminder of the renewal of the springtime to come. The Romans used it in their winter celebrations known as the Saturnalia, and this custom may have spread to England.