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In classical times, the ivy was sacred to Bacchus (the thyrsus was sometimes wreathed with ivy). A branch or bush of ivy was the traditional sign of a vintner's shop or tavern, giving rise to the expression good wine needs no bush.

Ivy was sometimes regarded as unlucky, and is traditionally opposed to the holly at times of celebration.

Ivy League a group of long-established universities in the eastern US having high academic and social prestige. It includes Harvard, Yale, Princeton, and Columbia. The term refers to the ivy traditionally growing over the walls of these establishments.

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