The Ancient Greeks held the Bay tree in high esteem. The tree was dedicated to the God ‘Apollo’ and his son ‘Aesculapius’ and seen as sacred. Aesculapius was the God of Medicine, and hence the Bay was believed to have curative powers, being used in may remedies. To ensure protection during storms people once carried branches of the Bay tree overhead as it was believed that this tree was never struck by lightning. Yet if placed on a fire it was thought that it was possible to tell from the sound of the branches burning whether prosperity or misfortune was to follow. The branches made a wonderful cracking sound if positive omens were promised, but silent and the observer should take care within the near future.
If the leaves were seen to wither then traditionally it was thought that someone in the locality would die.