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[OE birce].

The deciduous hardwood tree with slender branches and distinctive smooth white or grey bark, genus Betula, has attracted an extensive body of folk belief in Celtic countries. The ogham alphabet of early Ireland associated the Roman letter B with birch. In Wales the birch tree is much associated with love; a lover's bower usually stands beneath a birch tree or in a birch bush. The maypole is usually made of birch; wreaths of birch may be presented as love tokens. The name Bedwyr may mean ‘birch hero’. On the isle of Colonsay in Gaelic Scotland, mothers put birch boughs over the cradles and carriages of babies to protect them from fairies. ModIr. beith; ScG beithe; Manx beih; W bedwen; Corn. besewen; Bret. bezvenn.

Subjects: Religion.

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