Whether or not your St Albans or Harpenden Christmas party is over it can be the moment of dread when you find yourself accidentally under the mistletoe with a stranger. Mistletoe as a decoration has become a Christmas tradition, but why does that mean people have to kiss underneath it?
There are a host of stories about Mistletoe and its mystical properties some stem back to the Celts and Norse people who believed there was something mystical about the plant as like holly and ivy the sprigs stayed green in winter even when the tree has lost its leaves.
But one Norse tale explains why its links to romance, love and kissing. The goddess Frigga had a son called Baldur who was killed by with an arrow made of mistletoe. Frigga was so distraught by his death she cried for 3 days. Some say it was Frigga's tears that turned into the white berries that grow upon the mistletoe. And some say, too, that when Frigga placed these berries upon Baldur's breast, he came to life again. Because of this Frigga praised the mistletoe as a symbol of love and of peace, and she promised that, forever afterward, whoever stood beneath this plant would be offered a kiss and forever protected.
This turned into a tradition in ancient times when visitors would kiss the hand of a host under the mistletoe when they arrived as a way of honouring the Norse legend. Since then, the tradition has evolved to the custom we all know and in England, kissing under the mistletoe was first referred to in late 18th century England.
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