Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Origin of Mistletoe

I found an awesome website that has explanations of all things Christmas.  Snippets of today's post can be found at http://www.whychristmas.com/customs/mistletoe.shtml

So what is Mistletoe and what does it have to do with kissing?  Mistletoe is a plant that grows on willow and apple trees (really?) The tradition of hanging it in the house goes back to the times of the ancient Druids. It was thought it possessed mystical powers which brought good luck to the household and help ward off evil spirits.  It seems people back in ancient times were very superstitious and always worried about evil spirits, doesn't it? 


So where does the kissing fit in?  Well, in Norse mythology it was used as a sign of love and friendship so that's where the custom of kissing under the Mistletoe comes from.

When the first Christians came to Western Europe, some tried to ban the use of Mistletoe as a decoration in churches but many still used it.  In fact, a church in the UK used to hold a special Mistletoe Service in the winter, where wrong doers in the city could come and be pardoned.

The custom of kissing under Mistletoe comes from England. The original custom was that a berry was picked from the sprig of Mistletoe before the person could be kissed and when all the berries were gone, there could be no more kissing!

The name mistletoe comes from two Anglo Saxon words 'Mistel' (which means dung) and 'tan' (which means) twig or stick! So you could translate Mistletoe as 'poo on a stick'!!! Not exactly romantic is it!

May you end up under the Mistletoe with someone worth kissing!

R. K. Avery
@RKAvery1