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why do people kiss under mistletoe at christmas

IT S THE moment everyone dreads at the Christmas party, finding yourself accidentally under the mistletoe with a strangers and hearing the words, Oh go on, kiss. Its tradition. Mistletoe is a Christmas staple, but what is it and why do people kiss underneath it? We have the history behind the tradition. What is the story behind it? Mistletoe s mystical properties stem back to the Celts and Norse people who believed there was something mystical about the plant as the sprigs stayed green in winter even when the tree has lost its leaves. It was also believed to bring luck in Medieval times. One Norse tale explains its links to romance, love and kissing. Balder, son of the goddess Frigga, was killed by an evil spirit with an arrow made of mistletoe. Frigga was so distraught that her tears turned to white berries, coating the plant and symbolising her love for him.

Frigga was overjoyed by the white berries so she blessed the plant and promised a kiss to all who passed beneath it from that day onward. This turned into a tradition in ancient times when visitors would kiss the hand of a host under the mistletoe when they arrived as a way of honouring the Norse legend. Since then, the tradition has evolved to the custom we all know and in England, kissing under the mistletoe was first referred to in late 18th century England. What is mistletoe? Despite all the romantic connotations, mistletoe is actually a tree-killing parasite plant. The plant can only thrive if its seeds are carried to a host tree by birds that have eaten the mistletoe berries. The plant feeds off the host tree by stealing all the water and soil mineralsбwhich is why the mistletoe retains its vibrant green colour all through winter.

What colour are mistletoe berries? Most species of mistletoe have waxy white berries. There are approximately 1300 species of the plant, and some of them have red, pink or transparent berries. Mistletoe berries are poisonous andбshould definitely not be ingested. One French tradition holds that the reason mistletoe is poisonous is because it was growing on a tree that was used to make the cross on which Jesus Christ was crucified.
Get daily updates directly to your inbox You're standing in a bar chatting to a handsome stranger and would never dream of puckering up and lunging at him (because, well, that's weird). But look towards the ceiling and there's mistletoe - great! Here's your chance to plant one on him. Hang on. why? Why does the fact someone has taped a few branches of a plant to the ceiling change the dating rules?

Have we ever stopped to think about how this tradition started and why we can take advantage of it? Mistletoe has long been considered a 'romantic' plant - as far back as the Celtic Druids of the first century - because of its ability to blossom even during freezing winters,. By the 18th century, it had become widely incorporated into Christmas traditions and men were allowed to steal a kiss from any woman caught standing under the mistletoe. Refusing was seen as bad luck - so if someone tries to kiss you under the mistletoe at the Christmas party (and you actually want to kiss them) maybe really consider if you want to. Another tradition saw men pluck a berry from the branches for each kiss they had - until they were all gone, and then they had to stop kissing. But there's a more beautiful tale in Norse mythology about the festive favourite.

According to the legend, when the god OdinБs 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 that they would not harm him. But Frigg neglected to consult with the unassuming mistletoe, so the scheming god Loki made an arrow from the plant and saw that it was used to kill the otherwise invincible Baldur. According to one sunnier version of the myth, the gods were able to resurrect Baldur from the dead. Delighted, Frigg then declared mistletoe a symbol of love and vowed to plant a kiss on all those who passed beneath it. The plant has always been associated with fertility and vitality. By the 18th century it had been incorporated into Christmas tradition. And now it's a staple decoration in Christmas parties across the land.

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