Thursday, October 20, 2011

Mistletoe and Christmas traditions

Mistletoe is a plant that is associated with Christmas. Age old customs dictate that Mistletoe must not touch the ground during its placement in the house and its removal. It is kept throughout the year from one Christmas to the next to keep the house safe from fire and lighting and always replaced in the eve of a new Christmas.

But what exactly is the origin of the name mistletoe? The name mistletoe may have originated from a German language, mist for dung and tang for branch. An old English word, mistiltan, may be the origin of the name mistletoe. Besides, the Greeks, in their mythology mentioned mistletoe.

In Scandinavian myths, it is said that an arrow made of mistletoe was used Baldr; a god in Norse mythology, to kill his brother; a blind god named Hodur due to scheming of by Loki another Norse god. Across Europe, the pagans associated Mistletoe with romance, fertility and vitality, something that found its way into our modern Christmas.

The customs also dictate that during Christmas period, if you meet a person of opposite sex under Mistletoe, you must kiss, but plunk its seeds and stop kissing when the seeds are over
This kissing under the Mistletoe may have its origin from Scandinavians, who associated Mistletoe with their goddess of love; Frigga. They believed that two people who kissed under Mistletoe remained happy and had good luck throughout the year, remember this when you meet someone you love under a Mistletoe during the 2011 Christmas.

During the winter celebrations in their ritual of oak and mistletoe, Druid priests; Druids were member class of priest that inhabited France, Ireland and England and the Island of Britain long before Christ, used Mistletoe in their rituals as the Romans would find out when they occupied Britain and other parts of Europe. The Europeans perceived Mistletoe to be powerful due to lack of roots and it ability to withstand winter by remaining green. Thus these pagan beliefs were incorporated in our modern Christmas traditions and customs.

Besides the Druids, the Celtics who believed that the Mistletoe had power that could heal diseases and even used it as medicine for poison and infertility, the Celtics, believed that Mistletoe could put of evil spirits. No wonder in today’s Christmas traditions we keep the Mistletoe for a full year, from one Christmas to the next. Besides all the Christmas associations with Mistletoe, it has been used a symbol of peace, during the Roman Empire, enemies laid down their weapons if they met under Mistletoe and embraced.

Mistletoe is used for Christmas decorations, it can also be part of your 2011 Christmas tree.

However all has not been smooth for Mistletoe as it was said to be the tree that made the cross that Jesus crucified on.

I hope you find someone to kiss under Mistletoe during the 2011 Christmas.

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