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The Legend of the Mistletoe

By Melissa Gutierrez
Posted On Dec 25, 2015
The Legend of the Mistletoe

Mistletoe

In a land far away, the valley was blanketed with snow and the air was so still it was unimaginable that life thrived here just a few months prior. Yet, there was a sole survivor in the midst of this frozen tundra. Up in the branches of a silver birch a mistletoe plant weathered the harsh winter.

Behold the mistletoe! Because the mistletoe could blossom even during the frozen winter, European folklore and Greek mythology esteemed the mistletoe as a sacred herb and associated it with fertility, protection against evil and even as an aphrodisiac.

But how exactly did the mistletoe become a Christmas favorite? Being the inquisitive gal that I am, I embarked on a bit of research.

Norse mythology also mentions the mistletoe. When Baldur, grandson of Thor, was prophesied to die, his mother Frigg, Goddess of Love went to all the plants and animals of the Earth to secure an oath that they would not harm Baldur. But Frigg forgot to ask the small mistletoe plant. According to www.smithsonianmag.com, the scheming God Loki, killed Baldur by stabbing him with an arrow made from the wood of a mistletoe. A lesson was learned, never forget about the mistletoe. In other words, we kiss beneath the mistletoe as a reminder to never forget the smaller things in life.

According to www.history.com, in England the mistletoe tradition started in the servant class and soon spread to the middle class. Men were allowed to steal a kiss from a girl standing underneath the mistletoe. Refusing a kiss was considered bad luck. However, a kiss meant deep romance, or lasting friendship and goodwill. How the mistletoe made its transition from sacred herb to holiday tradition remains up for debate. However, one thing is for certain, we’re all glad that it did. Pucker up!


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