The name is said to derive from 'holy' and is associated with Christmas and the Yuletide season. The green leaves are said to represent eternal life, the red berries represent the crucifixion and the sharp prickles are thought to be a deterrent against evil spirits. Is is thought to be best to pick the holly before Christmas Eve to avoid attracting the attention of evil spirits. A hedge made of holly situated around a house is supposed to keep evil influences at bay whilst providing protection against storms, fire and even poison. So obviously it is believed by hedgers that cutting a holly bush is unlucky. Known traditionally for being used as decoration at Christmas holly is also believed to be heavily connected with the Roman Saturnalia festival. Leaving a piece of Christmas holly in a cowshed is reputed to promote healthy livestock. Smooth leaved varieties are associated with good luck for women whilst the males should turn to the prickly varieties for happiness. If the plant is laden with berries there might be a cold, hard winter ahead.