Most people know about the winter tradition of getting kissed under the mistletoe. What most people don’t realize is where this famous tradition comes from.
Thousands of years ago, mistletoe was used by the ancient druids to ward off evil spirits and promote good luck in the house. Druids not only used mistletoe for its mystical powers but they also viewed it as a symbol of restoring fertility to animals and alike. It’s belief of mystical powers has been seen throughout the ancient people including the Greeks who used it as a cure for everything and the Romans who also used mistletoe to cure diseases such as epilepsy. Among other things, the tradition of kissing under the mistletoe came much later.
Kissing under the mistletoe originated simultaneously in several places. One of the origin comes from England, where people would pick a berry on the mistletoe and then kiss underneath it. When all the berries were gone from the plant, one had to stop kissing. However, the most famous myth comes from Norse mythology when the goddess of love, Frigg, tried to stop the prophecy of her son, Baldur. As the story goes, Baldur was prophesied to die and Frigg wanted to stop it so she went to all the animals and plants in the world and made oaths that none of them would harm her son. However, Frigg forgot to consult with the mistletoe which led the god of mischief, Loki, to make an arrow out of the plant to kill Baldur with.
However, the tradition of being kissed under the mistletoe comes from the English servants; the servants were among the first to really engage with the mistletoe. As part of the custom, men could steal a kiss under the mistletoe and if women refused, it would be seen as bad luck. In order to not receive the horrible luck, the woman would end up kissing their co-worker.
Since the mistletoe will blossom during the winter months, it has led the tradition to become a classic Christmas favorite for the holiday season.