The Story Behind Christmas & Mistletoe

    It is true that today, you can never miss having mistletoe at every Christmas parties just about everywhere you go. The rules are simple and straightforward; whenever you find yourself standing under a mistletoe hanging in the doorway, you must lay a smooch on your bae. Even the singles aren’t left out. If you happen to be single and also standing under the mistletoe in the doorway, then the person closest to you gets the kiss. This happens to be one of Christmas’ old, most fun and romantic traditions that have stuck with us. Christmas is all about sharing and gift-giving. Heck, it is the perfect time to hand out that special Personalized Christmas Book to your loved one, try some delicious fancy meals, go on outings, travel, and all sorts of activities.

    But it is the story of the mistletoe and how much fun it is and brings more cheer to the Christmas spirit that turns people on. Ironically, much as people can’t always wait to get underneath a mistletoe by the doorway to lay kisses on their lovers. Many people don’t know how the mistletoe tradition actually got to start. In fact, different people and communities have varied stories to it.

    Keep reading to find out more about the story behind this kissing plant and Christmas.

    What makes mistletoe special?

    From all the kissing and smoothing that takes place under this little bough of berries, you must know that it is no ordinary plant. For such a special plant, the mistletoe doesn’t even grow in the ground. It, however, thrives on, and even feeds off of, the parks of trees.

    And it thrives during winter. When most of the trees have shed or are shedding their foliage. For such a time, to find a plant blooming with the beautiful tuft of bright green leaves seems almost impossible. But the mistletoe thrives with juicy berries on the bare branches on barks of trees, oaks, mostly. The tiny juicy berries come in either bright red or white. The colors of its leaves also range from anywhere between green to yellow.

    However, don’t be fooled by its juicy berries or brightly colored leaves. The mistletoe plants are actually quite poisonous. Snacking on its berries can cut your Christmas short in a jiffy.

    Mistletoe in ancient mythology

    Many people tend to think that the mistletoe tradition is a thing of the present age. But this is far from true. The story actually takes root in ancient times. The plant’s ability to stay fruitful and lush throughout the year is what made it stand out from the other plants even in the ancient times. The ancients used this as a sign to symbolize fertility.

    Even Artemis, Greek goddess, wore mistletoe as a crown as an emblem of immortality. The plant’s ancient history goes even deeper when the Druids used it to make potions that they believed helped to boost procreation.

    Most civilizations, however, say the mistletoe plant as a sign of peace. The ancient Scandinavians made it law that anyone who met their enemy standing beneath the plant had to put their weapons down and hug each other. The warring parties then had to come to a truce and agree to not war for the rest of the day. Many people believe that this may be what actually sparked the current kissing underneath the berries tradition.

    The legend of Baldar is, perhaps, the most well-known myths of the history of mistletoes. The myth started when Baldar had a dream about his death. He shared this dream with his mother, Frigga who was the goddess of beauty and love. Frigga was so sad and depressed about the news. She begged all the plants and animals and any other earthly elements to protect her son. But then she forgot to talk to the mistletoe. Perhaps she missed it as the plant was high off the ground. That is when Loki took advantage of the situation and fashioned a poisoned dart from the mistletoe plant and killed Baldar. This brought darkness and cold to the whole world. All hope seemed to be lost until the grieving Frigga shed tears of sorrow over the mistletoe berries. Suddenly, Baldar came back to life. None was happier than Frigga who gratefully kissed everyone who happened to walk underneath the plant. This is the story that established the mistletoe as the kissing plant that we all know today.

    Modern mistletoe tradition

    From the story of the legend of Baldar, the mistletoe plant has been wrapped in romance. In the Victorian era, the plant was decorated using ribbons and then hung during Christmas times. And young girls and ladies couldn’t turn down giving or receiving a kiss whenever they were standing underneath the plant. And the young men took berries from the plant for every kiss they got.

    Once all the berries had been plucked, the mistletoe plant was believed to have lost its amorous powers and was taken down. It would then be replaced the next Christmas, and the tradition carried on. However, if a girl happened not to get a kiss before all the berries were plucked, it meant that she wasn’t going to get married for a year. The couples that happened to meet and kiss under the plant were said to have good luck. And marriage and long life were some of the blessings that they had ahead of them.

    Final thoughts

    There are a lot of different ways that the story of the mistletoe plant goes. But the ones mentioned above are, so far, the most common and elaborate how this favorite lip-sucking Christmas tradition has passed down generations. It is highly likely that the mistletoe plant and Christmas will continue to be part of the holiday tradition that isn’t going away any time soon. So, get your mistletoe plant early and hang it underneath your doorway this Christmas. Who knows? Something special might happen. Maybe you even get a kiss from your crush this festive season.


    • Tom La Vecchia

      Founder of New Theory & X Factor Media

      Founder and Publisher of New Theory Magazine and Podcast. Serial Entrepreneur who loves wine, cigars and anything that allows to people to connect and share experiences.