With the Christmas holidays only a few short weeks away, I’ve been thinking about the different traditions, what they mean and where they came from. Today, I wanted to explore mistletoe and uncover why when one stands under a spring of mistletoe, they are required to kiss whomever asks for one. The myth has a few different beginnings and is different in each culture where it is present.
The Celtic myths believed that mistletoe could heal diseases, protect from witchcraft, and grant fertility to humans and animals. Ceremoniously, it was cut from trees with a golden sickle and not allowed to touch the ground. It was divided into small pieces and hung above the doors of the people to protect them from evil spirits.
The Vikings believed that mistletoe was used in the death of the god whose mother’s tears brought him back to life. She kissed everyone who passed under a tree containing the plant, declaring that everyone who passed under mistletoe should receive a kiss for his or her protection. Christianity saw many of these practices as pagan and were abandoned. The Victorians brought the tradition back to solicit a kiss as a sign of love and good luck. In Victorian times, kisses were limited as each berry symbolized one kiss and were plucked off the plant when the kiss was planted. When the berries were gone, there were to be no more kisses to be had!
Whichever tradition YOU believe, it’s the love and fun surrounding the Christmas (and holiday) season that is the best. Be sure your lips are kissable and whatever you do, don’t eat the mistletoe berries… they’re poisonous!