History of Kissing Under the Mistletoe

posted in: Holidays, Traditions | 0

The tradition of kissing underneath the mistletoe dates back to ancient Greece.  This began during the festival of Saturnalia, This was a holy day on which religious rites were performed. Everyone was treated equal, including slaves, during this week of celebration and restrictions were more relaxed.


The mistletoe plant is associate with fertility and the practice of kissing soon made its way into marriage ceremonies.

During Roman times, enemies at war would reconcile their differences underneath the mistletoe, to represent peace.

Mistletoe was even used to decorate the Roman homes and temples in midwinter.

Tradition states proper etiquette, dating to ancient times, is for the gentleman to pluck one white berry while kissing the lady on the cheek. One kiss is allowed for each berry.

In Nordic mythology, the plant is associated with the goddess of love {Frigga} but the god of mischief {Loki} shot Frigga’s son with a spear carved from mistletoe.  Frigga revived her son under the mistletoe tree, decreeing anyone who stands under the mistletoe tree deserves not only protection from death, but also a kiss.

By Victorian times, kissing under a mistletoe became a science in love.  If a girl refused a kiss, she shouldn’t expect any marriage proposals for at least a year and many would turn their noses up at her, remarking how she was likely to become an old maid.

Today, the tradition is much more relaxed and fun.

However, mistletoe should not be eaten, as it is very harmful.

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