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Hawthorn Hedging and Folklore

Hawthorn Hedging

Hawthorn hedging has a very interesting history and folklore.

Hawthorn hedging has a fascinating history and folklore, primarily linking it to faeries. Hawthorn, also called thornapple, May-tree, whitehorn or hawberry is native to Britain and Ireland and it is from these areas that the most famous hawthorn folklore originates.

One of the most famous beliefs relating to hawthorn is the traditional Irish belief that hawthorn hedging and trees are the meeting place of faeries. The hedging and trees are said to bring good luck to the land owner, as a lone hawthorn tree is considered one of the three faery trees - Oak, Ash and Thorn. Many people will avoid building on the area of the tree and will avoid destroying or damaging the tree for fear of upsetting the faeries who are said to be dangerous when annoyed. Traditionally, people would tie ribbons to a hawthorn on May Day as a gift to the faeries, and it is said that tying together an Oak, Ash and Thorn plant with a ribbon will bring protection from the faeries.

Hawthorn Hedging and the Crucifixion

Another belief associated with hawthorn hedging and the hawthorn tree is that the hawthorn was the thorny tree used to make Christ's crown of thorns. Many people, as a result, consider hawthorn bad luck. It was also widely believed that hawthorn would bring death and illness if brought into the house. Whilst this is perhaps partly due to its connection with the Crucifixion, it is also supposedly resultant of the smell of hawthorn blossom, since it supposedly smells of death. Whilst we are unlikely to be familiar with such a smell, many years ago those who had passed away were often kept inside for a few days before burial, so people of those times would have been more familiar with the odour. Interestingly, it has recently been discovered that the hawthorn blossom contains trimethylamine, a chemical found in decaying tissue, so this may explain the association.

Despite this, parts of the plants were often eaten and called 'bread and cheese'. People would be careful which trees they chose, however, and only hawthorn hedging could be taken from to avoid angering the guardian spirit/faerie in the lone trees.

Hawthorn Hedging in the Ancient World

Some more positive hawthorn folklore comes from ancient Greece and Rome, where hawthorn was related with marriage and children. Hawthorn was dedicated to Hymen, the god of marriage, in ancient Greece and was used as decoration in both Greek and Roman weddings as a sign of hope.

Hawthorn hedges have so much folklore associated with them, both positive and negative, and there's no denying that they are a beautiful and special plant. If you would like to order some hawthorn hedging, visit today.

10 March 2015 at 12:40 / Comment

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