christmas mistletoe

The History of Mistletoe at Christmas

Mistletoe sprigs are decorations that inspire kissing during the holiday season. While meeting under the mistletoe can be sweet and romantic, it is interesting to explore the history behind the tradition.

Have you ever wondered how the Christmas mistletoe tradition came about?

Mistletoe, like holly, is a Christmas decorating tradition that has been scrutinized and has been the center of controversy from time to time.

Arguments against the use of holly in Christmas decor stem from the plant’s significance in pagan tradition and its association with magical powers. Mistletoe has similar associations as it is frequently referenced in regard to Celtic and pagan rituals and Norse mythology. In ancient times the mistletoe was a sacred plant and people believed it had supernatural power. Historically, it has also been used as medicine.

In some cultures, mistletoe symbolizes peace, love, and goodwill. The modern-day tradition of kissing under the mistletoe stems from Norse mythology whereby a Norse goddess declared mistletoe as a sacred plant to symbolize love rather than death which, as the myth goes, it previously stood for. Being a symbol of love kissing under the mistletoe naturally became a tradition.

Thus, the origin of traditions involving mistletoe can be good or bad depending on personal perception and personal convictions. However, in this day and age the tradition of kissing under the mistletoe is a fun and festive holiday tradition without much concern for the controversy surrounding previous ritualistic attributes.

Fun Fact

Several species of mistletoe grow in various parts of the world. Most mistletoe plants are poisonous if eaten and should be kept out of the reach of children. Interestingly, mistletoe is used in some alternative remedies for cancer.

A single sprig of mistletoe is often placed in the center of a room or over a door facing during the Christmas season and usually has a ribbon or a bow accompanying it. Sometimes mistletoe is made into a wreath or a ball and used as Christmas decor.

Mistletoe is also a nice addition for decorating Christmas gift packages.

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