Mistletoe Kissing comes from Ancient Greece

Mistletoe Kissing, Mistletoe Kissing comes from Ancient Greece, The Travel Bug Bite

Kissing under mistletoe is a fun, although sometimes awkward, tradition. Mistletoe is actually a parasitic plant that grows on trees and shrubs all over the world. It has also weaseled it’s way into our hearts and Christmas traditions. In ancient times, it was associated with fertility and considered an aphrodisiac.

“The Celtic Druids are among the first people known to ascribe a tradition to mistletoe, using it in ceremonies at least a few thousand years ago, but they didn’t kiss under it. They believed mistletoe, especially a rare species that grew on oak trees, to have sacred powers including the ability to heal illnesses, protect against nightmares, and even predict the future.”

Live Science

Mistletoe kissing dates back to Ancient Greece during Saturnalia. Saturnalia is the ancient Roman festival of Saturn. It took place in December, which was a period of celebrating, dancing and drinking. Mistletoe was also used to broker peace by the Roman’s during war. Enemies would reconcile under mistletoe. To them, it represented peace.

Nordic Myth

“The plant was sacred to Frigga, the goddess of love, but Loki, commonly known as the god of mischief, shot Frigga’s son with a spear or, in some tellings, an arrow carved from mistletoe. Frigga revived her son under the mistletoe tree and decreed that anyone who stands under the mistletoe tree deserves not only protection from death, but also a kiss.”

Live Science

Victorian England

Everything is done properly in England. Mistletoe kissing was no different. Any lady that refused a peck was basically committing social suicide. It meant that she shouldn’t expect marriage proposals in the upcoming year. Others would also treat her badly and assume that she would end up an old maid.

Proper mistletoe kissing etiquette dates back to ancient times. A gentleman should pluck one white berry while kissing the lady on the cheek. Only one kiss is allowed for each berry plucked.

Danger Warning

Recreating the fancy berry per kiss tradition is all good. But make sure not to consume any berries and wash berry juice off your hands immediately. Mistletoe is not only a parasite but a toxic one at that. Eating the berries will cause vomiting and stomach pain. You can even die if you consume too many. I highly recommend that you pluck, kiss, then dispose of evil berry safely.

Mistletoe Kissing, Mistletoe Kissing comes from Ancient Greece, The Travel Bug Bite
Mistletoe kissing – photo from Wikimedia.

Mistletoe Kissing, Mistletoe Kissing comes from Ancient Greece, The Travel Bug Bite


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