Why Do We Kiss Under The Mistletoe

Dated: 12/19/2017

Views: 377

       A little Chapstick, some lip gloss, and vigilance for the right hanging flora can yield to a moment of passion during the holidays, but have you ever considered just why mistletoe provides an opportunity? Its origins are older than you think.


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    Kissing under sprigs of mistletoe is a well-known holiday tradition, but its history as a symbolic herb dates back thousands of years. Many ancient cultures prized mistletoe for its healing properties. The Greeks used it as a cure for everything from menstrual cramps to spleen disorders, and the Roman naturalist Pliny the Elder noted it could be used as a balm against epilepsy, ulcers and poisons.

    However, the plant’s romantic overtones first appeared with the Celtic Druids of the 1st century who noticed mistletoe blossomed even during the frozen winter. The Druids came to view it as sacred and a symbol of vivacity. They administered it to humans and animals alike in the hope of restoring fertility.


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                                                                               Druids collecting mistletoe


    Mistletoe also has a place in Norse mythology. When the god Odin’s son Baldur was prophesied to die, his mother Frigg, the goddess of love, went to all the animals and plants of the natural world to secure an oath they would not harm him. However, Frigg neglected to consult with the unassuming mistletoe, so the scheming god Loki made an arrow from the plant and used it to kill the otherwise invincible Baldur. The gods were able to resurrect Baldur from the dead. Delighted, Frigg declared mistletoe a symbol of love and vowed to plant a kiss on all those who passed beneath it.

    Mistletoe’s associations with fertility and vitality continued through the Middle Ages, and by the 18th century it had become widely incorporated into Christmas celebrations. The kissing tradition appears to have first caught on among servants in England before spreading to the middle classes. As part of the early custom, men were allowed to steal a kiss from any woman caught standing under the mistletoe, and refusing was viewed as bad luck. Another tradition instructed the merrymakers to pluck a single berry from the mistletoe with each kiss, and to stop smooching once they were all gone.


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    So as you travel from party to party and house to house this holiday season, look for the mistletoe. If you are rewarded with a kiss, be sure to thank your local Druid.


   Happy Holidays from your “Running Realtor” Andrew Gonzales

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