We know the ivy: a climbing plant
The common ivy is an evergreen climbing plant that thrives and belongs to the Araliaceae family. In the non-floriferous branches it has characteristic leaves with 3 or 5 lobes of light and dark green color; in the flowering branches the leaves are instead rhomboid. The flowers are formed by five green petals; the fruits instead are small berries gathered in spherical formations of which the birds eat abundantly in the winter periods; if ingested by humans, however, these berries cause irritation to the gastric walls. The ivy is a widespread plant that can be found close to ruins, on trees, but also in the undergrowth: it can grow luxuriantly both on the ground and perched along the walls and can reach considerable heights, above 20 meters in height.
The ivy plant has always been related to the god Dionysus, representing one of the symbols on earth. Around this plant many legends have developed: one of the most fascinating tells that the ivy was born immediately after the birth of Dionisio to repair it from the fire that lapped the body of the mother, struck by a lightning of Zeus. In this regard, the Thebans decided to dedicate the ivy to Dionysus, whose name perikiosos, meant column winder. The ivy is also associated with the vine, the other sacred plant for the god in question. There are several theses in this regard, but the most accredited one seems to be that of W. Otto, an appreciated historian of religions, who explains how ivy and wine represent the exact opposite of the other: while the vine dies in winter and flourishes in spring, ivy "revives" in autumn and needs shade and cold to produce its berries.
Ivy: alternative meaning
This reading is linked to what the ivy wants as a symbol of innocence: always with a view to this opposition, the ivy would represent innocence in opposition to the sin of the vine and of wine. This alternative meaning of the plant is in any case linked to the figure of Dionisio: in fact, in ancient times divinity also represented innocence and light-heartedness, and surrounding the head of ivy, gave the plant the meaning of innocence and innocence. Perhaps also for these reasons it is widespread for centuries the custom of representing the taverns with a branch of ivy, to represent the innocence and the non-harmfulness of wine. Moreover, Dionysus was considered the god of amorous transport: also in this case, the vigor with which the ivy grows well represents these characteristics. To confirm this, it is recalled that in the amorous vocabulary ivy represents the passion that drives the loved ones to wrap one another just like the ivy around the tree trunks.
Ivy meaning: Ivy: curiosity
The common ivy is much appreciated in cosmetics for its recognized invigorating and draining properties. Many women use ivy-based products against cellulite, water retention and swelling; not least, the plant is also used in solutions for hair care and small irritations or burns. A renowned and widespread cosmetic product is the extract of ivy. The ivy plant is often used at Christmas time, particularly in Northern Europe, to decorate the entire apartment or, according to other traditions, the home fireplace. Some traditions assign a further meaning to the ivy, a meaning that is not in contrast with the previous ones: due to its characteristic of tangling in a decisive, almost indissoluble way, ivy is considered a symbol of fidelity: this is why spouses sometimes led to neck braided wreaths.