Death, sex, superstition and fear: the hawthorn tree in Ireland
These trees that grew of their own accord, unplanted by human hands, are those most regarded with fear and superstition. These are thought of as faery trees, associated with those unseen beings from the other world. They are believed to mark the places where the faeries, after dark, would assemble and play sweet ethereal music, ready to abduct any beautiful human who took their fancy. Faeries could potentially destroy the crops, livestock, health, fortune or luck of anyone they took a dislike to, or anyone who had somehow wronged them. Thus, anything associated with faery activity in Ireland was traditionally avoided by the people who used many rituals to appease them.
(tags: hawthorn trees superstition fairies sidhe history ireland folklore)