Kissing Under the Mistletoe
The Druids considered the mistletoe to be a sacred plant and
believed it had miraculous properties which could cure illnesses,
serve as an antidote against poisons, ensure fertility and protect
against the ill effects of witchcraft.
Moreover, whenever enemies met under the mistletoe in the forest,
they had to lay down their arms and observe a truce until the next
day. From this has seemingly come the ancient custom of hanging a
ball of mistletoe from the ceiling and exchanging kisses under it
as a sign of friendship and goodwill.
Another version, however, says that this custom, which was widespread
among the Anglo-Saxons, was connected to the legend of Freya, goddess
of love, beauty and fertility. According to legend, a man had to kiss
any young girl who, without realizing it, found herself accidentally
under a sprig of mistletoe hanging from the ceiling.
Even if the pagan significance has been long forgotten, the custom
of exchanging a kiss under the mistletoe can still be found in many
European countries. Thus if a couple in love exchanges a kiss under
the mistletoe, it is interpreted as a promise to marry, as well as
a prediction of happiness and long life. In France, the custom
linked to mistletoe is reserved for New Year's Day: "le Gui du Jour
de l'An" (Mistletoe for the New Year). In Italy mistletoe is
exchanged as a gift near to the year end and is then hung up by the
entrance doorway until the next year's holiday season when it is
burned in the family's fireplace and replaced by a fresh sprig.
Today, in our North American culture, kisses can be exchanged under
the mistletoe any time during the holidays.
Suggested News Resources
- Why does no one kiss under the mistletoe any more?
- I sprayed on extra Lynx and made sure of it. Yeeesss … you see, this is part of the problem. What is?
- Why Do We Kiss Under the Mistletoe? Christmas Explained.
- A free kiss underneath the mistletoe. An evergreen tree covered in fairy lights leaving an iridescent glow in the cozy corner of your humble abode. Stockings filled with treats for all and perhaps coal for the naughty ones.
- Why do people kiss under the mistletoe?
- It's the moment any Christmas partygoer dreads: stepping into a friend's hallway to make your goodbyes and finding yourself surreptitiously standing under a sprig of mistletoe with a less-than-desirable (but just as unfortunate) stranger.
- Kissing couples at Six Flags set Guinness World Record
- “Holiday in the Park is a special time of year and tonight, our guests created a lifelong memory by kissing under mistletoe and setting a new world record at Six Flags Over Georgia,” said Six Flags Atlanta Properties Park President Dale Kaetzel.
- When Kissing Under Mistletoe Is Okay—and When You'll Just Make a Fool of Yourself
- Imagine the area under the mistletoe as having a shot clock: If you don't score fast, you get out of the zone. — Open-mouth kissing is by invitation only. Wait for the invitation.