"" Writer's Wanderings: Under the Mistletoe

Monday, December 20, 2010

Under the Mistletoe

When I first saw mistletoe growing in the branches of a tree I mistook it for a big squirrel's nest like we see in our trees at home. I learned that it is a parasitic plant that feeds off of its host tree. It does produce a popular Christmas decoration with quite a tradition.

Mistletoe can be found in several areas of America, Europe, and Australia. Not all species produce the same kind of white berries and leaves that are commonly used in the traditional Christmas decorations though.

Mistletoe was traditionally hung in doorways where a young man could claim a kiss if he caught a girl there. He then removed one of the berries from the plant. When the fruit was gone no more kisses could be claimed.

The original tradition of kissing under the mistletoe is said to have come from a Norse legend
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.

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