“Once you stand under it you have to get a kiss.” Under what? “The missletoad! I mean the kissingtoe!” Ah, yes. The traditional Mistletoe according to a six-year-old. Some of the things that this kid says are almost too cute to correct! I asked my Husband if I kissed him under the “missletoad” if he would turn into a Prince. He didn’t find the notion nearly as funny as I did!
Anyway, the whole kissingtoe conversation really got me thinking about some of the Holiday traditions we have and where they originated. With Google literally in hand, I set out to find out where the Mistletoe tradition came from.
It certainly didn’t start out sweet as, according to Wikipedia, mistletoe was used as a weapon in the 13th Century “the god Baldr is killed by his brother, the blind god Höðr, by way of a mistletoe projectile.” For the next three centuries Mistletoe was thought to represent fertility due to its berries and a perceived connection between them and…sperm?
It wasn’t until the 16th Century that our notion of mistletoe and kissing became documented with ties to religious customs in England. Still, the custom wasn’t associated with Christmas until the 18th Century. The type of Mistletoe used for Christmas decorations today is , also according to Wikipedia, the same type that was considered sacred by he Ancient Druids. It’s also a PARASITE that grows on trees!
Wikipedia continues to provide further explanation of the tradition,
According to ancient Christmas custom, a man and a woman who meet under a hanging of mistletoe were obliged to kiss. The custom may be of Scandinavian origin. It was described in 1820 by American author Washington Irving in his The Sketch Book of Geoffrey Crayon
‘The mistletoe is still hung up in farm-houses and kitchens at Christmas, and the young men have the privilege of kissing the girls under it, plucking each time a berry from the bush. When the berries are all plucked the privilege ceases.'”
Whatever the origin, kissing beneath the mistletoe is a cute and fun tradition and, even if my husband won’t turn into a prince, I will look forward to meeting him in the archway where we’ll hang our mistletoe next month! After all, he is already the “King” of my heart! Xoxo
What are some of your favorite Holiday traditions and customs? Do you know where they originated? I’m going to be posting about a few more of ours in the coming weeks. I’d love to hear from you about yours in the meantime!