why do you kiss under the mistletoe

makes its appearance each December as millions of Americans and Europeans hang a of it in their doorways during the holiday season. According to custom, if you're caught standing under the, you may get a kiss. So what is it about this little plant that gives it its power to make people up? For,
has been considered a plant that increases life and. Celtic Druids living in the 1st century A. D. viewed it as a symbol of vivacity, since it remained green while other plants were bare during winter. Some historians believe the connection between and a kiss comes from ancient mythology. According to happier versions of the legend, Baldur (sometimes spelled Baldr or Balder) was killed by an enemy's arrow made of. His mother, the goddess Frigg, wept tears onto the arrow. Her tears turned into white berries that she placed onto Baldur's wound, bringing him back to life. Overjoyed, Frigg blessed the plant and promised a kiss to all who passed beneath it. Although the legend of Baldur is often cited as the origin of the connection between and a kiss, other historians point out that many versions of Baldur's story end quite differently. In these other versions, Baldur dies and is not revived. Given the age of these myths, it's certainly possible that happier versions were passed down over time, influencing future traditions. traditions have certainly evolved over time. For example, in ancient times, visitors would kiss the hand of a under the when they arrived.


Since then, traditions have grown a bit more personal. Today, any couple caught standing underneath the should prepare to up! So what, exactly, is? The far-from-romantic answer is that it's a plant, which means it depends on another plant for survival. can only grow if its seeds are carried to a Б " tree by birds that have eaten berries. Typically, a bird will squeeze a berry in its beak, squishing out a sticky, coated seed. The bird eats the fruit and cleans the sticky coating, called "," off its beak by wiping it against a nearby branch. As the hardens, the seed becomes firmly attached to the tree. The then invades the, Бstealing" nutrients and water from it. In fact, the scientific name for American (Phoradendron) is Greek for Бthief of the tree. " More fun facts about : Birds can eat berries, but they're highly to humans. Approximately 20 species of can be found on the list. Celtic Druids believed that contained the spirit of the tree in which it grew; this was the only part of the tree that stayed green all winter. Mistletoe is one of the many Christmas holiday traditions that, frankly, most people do not understand but play along with anyway. But mistletoe's magical hold over holiday lovers goes back way before the first office Christmas party. There are hundreds of species of mistletoe a that grows on trees and shrubs that can be found around the world, and as such, many cultures have worked the plant into their customs and mythology.


Many ancient groups associated mistletoe with fertility and vivacity, and some considered it an aphrodisiac. [Got a question? and we'll look for an expert who can crack it. ] The Celtic Druids are among the first people known to ascribe a tradition to mistletoe, using it in ceremonies at least a few thousand years ago, but they didn't kiss under it. They believed mistletoe, especially a rare species that grew on oak trees, to have sacred powers including the ability to heal illnesses, protect against nightmares, and even predict the future. As such, the Druids would collect it during the summer and hence, they were most likely the first to use mistletoe to decorate houses around Christmastime, although their tradition had nothing to do with the Christian holiday. The under the mistletoe started in ancient Greece, during the festival of Saturnalia and later in marriage ceremonies, because of the plant's association with fertility. During the Roman era, enemies at war would reconcile their differences under the mistletoe, which to them represented peace. Romans also decorated their houses and temples with mistletoe in midwinter to please their gods. There is also a Nordic myth concerning mistletoe, and it goes like this: The plant was sacred to Frigga, the goddess of love, but Loki, commonly known as the god of mischief, shot Frigga's son with a spear or, in some tellings, an arrow carved from mistletoe.


Frigga revived her son under the mistletoe tree and decreed that anyone who stands under the mistletoe tree deserves not only protection from death, but also a kiss. In Victorian England, kissing under the mistletoe was serious business. If a girl refused a kiss, she shouldn't expect any for at least the next year, and many people would snub their noses at her, remarking that she would most likely end up an old maid. Today, we take a much more lighthearted approach to the tradition. Although many couples simply just kiss when caught standing under it, there is actually a dating back to ancient times about kissing under the mistletoe. Linda Allen writes in Decking the Halls: The Folklore and Traditions of Christmas Plants that the gentleman should pluck one white berry while kissing the lady on the cheek. One kiss is allowed for each berry. It should be mentioned, however, that the, and eating its berries can cause vomiting and stomach pain. In the past, mistletoe had been thought to be a cure for epilepsy and other ailments, but was proved false. In fact, mistletoe is probably more harmful than helpful: deaths have even been reported from drinking too much tea made from its berries. So let's just stick to kissing under it.

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