and Maypoles are remnants of the Scandinavian
Ash, called Yggdrasil', the Tree of Time, whose roots penetrate to
heaven, Niffheim and Ginnungagap (the gap of gaps). In Ginnungagap the
frost giants dwell, in Niffheim is the great serpent Nidhögg; and under
this root is Helheim, the home of the dead. We are told that the
ancient Egyptians, at the Winter Solstice, used a palm branch
containing twelve leaves or shoots to symbolise the “completion of the
year.” The modern custom comes from Germany.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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