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The History of Christmas Mistletoe

History of Christmas Mistletoe

No one is really certain about the origin of the connection between Mistletoe and Christmas celebrations, but it is thought that the tradition began with the Druids (Celtic priests). The small green plant grew in abundance on the Sacred Oak. During religious gatherings, the priests cut sprigs of mistletoe and offered it to their followers as charms. Today, anyone caught standing beneath a sprig of mistletoe must forfeit a kiss.


Isn't it ironic that Mistletoe is actually a poisonous plant.  It grows into the roots of trees and survives as a partially parasitic plant by sapping nutrients from its host.  Even though this little green plant can live on its own, it is most commonly found growing on other trees and plants.


Mistletoe is thought to be a mystical plant in many world cultures.  It is attributed with the power to heal, protect and increase fertility.  The fact that it remains green throughout the coldest winter might explain why early historians painted it as a magical plant.


"Kissing under the Mistletoe” comes from a Norse myth about Baldur’s mother, Frigg.  The goddess of beauty and love, asked every plant and every animal to protect her son, the God of the summer sun and cause him no harm.  On her way back to Valhalla, she noticed a tiny mistletoe plant on the branches of a strong oak.  For a moment, she paused because she had requested no promise from this little green shrub.  But finally, she passed without speaking, thinking the mistletoe too young and weak to do any harm.


When Loki, God of evil, found this out, he fiendishly carried out a plot to have Balder's blind brother, Hoder, kill him with a  spear dipped in mistletoe. With the help of the gods, Balder was eventually brought back to life.  Frigg cried tears of joy that took the form of white mistletoe berries and vowed to kiss anyone who walked under the mistletoe.  Thus the "kissing under the mistletoe" myth began.


Hang some mistletoe over a doorway for Christmas and see why this has become an enduring tradition.





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