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In early spring, sallow twigs bear fluffy yellow flowers before they have any leaves. These were gathered for use in church decorations and processions on Palm Sunday, and were widely known as ‘palms’; nowadays, real palm is imported instead. Some people believed sallow or willow twigs protect a house from witchcraft and the evil eye, but also that one should never use them to beat an animal or child, for they would stunt its growth (Vickery, 1995: 134–5).

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