One of the most interesting paintings in the MBN Christmas collection is the Spirit of Yule, or the Holly King. The folklore of the Holly King surrounding Christmas is an intriguing tale that has been passed down through generations. This ancient tradition revolves around the concept of dualistic nature, where the Holly King and the Oak King are believed to engage in a perpetual battle for dominion over the changing seasons.
During Yule, the winter solstice celebration, the Holly King emerges as a central figure. With his evergreen crown adorned with holly leaves and berries, he represents the colder months and the power of nature during this time of year. The Holly King symbolizes the triumph of darkness over light, as the days grow shorter and the nights longer.
Legend has it that the Holly King reigns from midsummer to midwinter, ruling over the waning year. He brings with him the chill of winter, the frost-covered landscapes, and the quiet beauty of snowfall. The Holly King is often depicted as a wise and enigmatic figure, embodying the timeless cycle of life and death.
While the legend of the Holly King may be deeply rooted in pagan beliefs, it continues to capture the imagination and fascination of many during the Christmas season. It serves as a reminder of the interplay between light and darkness, and the balance that exists within the natural world.