Mistletoe berries in Wye Valley

Mistletoe berries in Wye Valley (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

OK – mistletoe has many meanings, but first of all it is a parasitic plant which grows on trees and does some damage. For this reason, foresters don’t like it much. However, pagan religions gave it other meanings.
1. In olden days, mistletoe was thought to be sacred. If enemies met in the forest and noticed mistletoe overhead, they had to lay down their weapons and fight another day.
2. Mistletoe had associations with the goddess Freya, and if couples in love kissed under the mistletoe it was a promise to marry.
3. If a man met a girl under the mistletoe, he had to kiss her.

mistletoe

Anyway, as the Christian religion absorbed the old Midwinter Festival and called it Christmas, so too did it absorb some of the old festival traditions – including the Christmas tree. Now, mistletoe is associated with Christmas and romance and kissing. Mistletoe is commonly hung from centre lights and doorways, and also carried in pockets (one can always hang it over the girl or boy of your fancy 🙂