Anonymous
Anonymous asked in Society & CultureHolidaysChristmas · 1 decade ago

Why do we hang mistletoe? And why do we kiss under it?

I always thought that was very strange, and I don't know why. Is it connected to some legend or something?

12 Answers

Relevance
  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    There are a lot of myths surrounding mistletoe. Vikings dating back to the eighth century believed that mistletoe had the power to raise humans from the dead, relating to the resurrection of Balder, the god of the summer sun. Balder had a dream that he was going to die. His mother, Frigga, the goddess of love and beauty, was frantic about his dream and said that if he died, everything on Earth would die. To ensure her son's safety, Frigga went to all of the elements -- air, fire, water and earth, as well as to all of the animals and plants -- and asked them not to kill Balder. In the same way a child would be heckled these days if his mother asked kids not to pick on her child, Balder was teased and had things thrown at him. It was thought that, because of his mother's power, he was immune to harm.

    Balder's only enemy, Loki, found a loophole in Frigga's request for her son's safety -- mistletoe. Mistletoe grows on the tree it attaches itself to, and therefore has no roots of its own and could not be affected by Frigga's request. Loki made a poisoned dart with mistletoe, and tricked the blind brother of Balder, Hoder, into shooting the arrow that killed Balder.

    For three days, all the elements tried their hardest to bring Balder back to life, but failed. Finally, the tears that Frigga cried for her dead son changed the red mistletoe berries to white, raising Balder from the dead. Frigga then reversed mistletoe's bad reputation, and kissed everyone who walked underneath it out of gratitude for getting her son back.

    The Miracle Worker

    Another myth in mistletoe's past comes from Britain. In the first century, the Druids in Britain believed that mistletoe could perform miracles, from providing fertility to humans and animals to healing diseases and protecting people from witchcraft. The Druids would cut mistletoe off oak trees in a special ceremony five days after the new moon following the winter solstice. The Druids believed that the mistletoe would become contaminated if it touched the ground, so they used a special white cloth to catch it. The Druids then sacrificed two white bulls while prayers were said, and priests gave out the mistletoe sprigs to the people, who believed they would then be kept safe from evil spirits and storms.

    Mistletoe is also said to be a sexual symbol, because of the consistency and color of the berry juice. The tradition of kissing under the mistletoe could have come from either the Viking association of the plant with Frigga, the goddess of love, or from the ancient belief that mistletoe was related to fertility.

    The correct mistletoe etiquette is for the man to remove one berry when he kisses a woman. When all the berries are gone, there is no more kissing underneath that plant. It is believed that an unmarried woman not kissed under the mistletoe will remain single for another year.

  • Anonymous
    5 years ago

    Since ancient times, the mistletoe has been one of the most magical, mysterious and sacred plants of European folklore. The ancient Druids considered the mistletoe to be a sacred plant and believed it had miraculous powers which could cure illnesses, serve as an antidote against poisons, ensure fertility and protect against the ill effects of witchcraft. It was also believed that the mistletoe was an aphrodisiac or a sexual symbol. From these strange beliefs has come the modern-day custom of hanging a ball of mistletoe from the ceiling and exchanging kisses under it as a sign of friendship and goodwill. The tradition of smooching under the mistletoe descends from the customs of several different cultures. For instance, exchanging kisses under the mistletoe was a tradition of Greek festivals and marital ceremonies. If a couple in love exchanges a kiss under the mistletoe, it is interpreted as a promise to marry, as well as a prediction of happiness and long life. The Anglo-Saxons associated the powers of the mistletoe to the legend of Freya, the goddess of love, beauty and fertility. According to the legend, a man had to kiss any young girl who, without realizing it, found herself accidentally under a sprig of mistletoe hanging from the ceiling. Guys would pluck a berry when they smooched the girls and when the last berry was gone, there would be no more kissing! In France, the custom linked to the mistletoe was reserved for New Year's Day: "Au gui l'An neuf"--Mistletoe for the New Year. Today, kisses can be exchanged under the mistletoe any time during the holiday season.

  • 1 decade ago

    Mistletoe has a fascinationg History. Over 2000 years ago, the ancient Celt's in Europe used mistletoe in many religious rituals and gave the plant the name "mistletoe" to mean "all healer". Today in some parts of Europe, the name still carries the same meaning. The tradition of kissing under the mistletoe dates back to early Scandanavia where the plant became a symbol of Love.

  • Anonymous
    5 years ago

    This Site Might Help You.

    RE:

    Why do we hang mistletoe? And why do we kiss under it?

    I always thought that was very strange, and I don't know why. Is it connected to some legend or something?

    Source(s): hang mistletoe kiss it: https://shortly.im/TPi4E
  • How do you think about the answers? You can sign in to vote the answer.
  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    The Legend :

    For its supposedly mystical power mistletoe has long been at the center of many folklore. One is associated with the Goddess Frigga. The story goes that Mistletoe was the sacred plant of Frigga, goddess of love and the mother of Balder, the god of the summer sun. Balder had a dream of death which greatly alarmed his mother, for should he die, all life on earth would end. In an attempt to keep this from happening, Frigga went at once to air, fire, water, earth, and every animal and plant seeking a promise that no harm would come to her son. Balder now could not be hurt by anything on earth or under the earth. But Balder had one enemy, Loki, god of evil and he knew of one plant that Frigga had overlooked in her quest to keep her son safe. It grew neither on the earth nor under the earth, but on apple and oak trees. It was lowly mistletoe. So Loki made an arrow tip of the mistletoe, gave to the blind god of winter, Hoder, who shot it , striking Balder dead. The sky paled and all things in earth and heaven wept for the sun god. For three days each element tried to bring Balder back to life. He was finally restored by Frigga, the goddess and his mother. It is said the tears she shed for her son turned into the pearly white berries on the mistletoe plant and in her joy Frigga kissed everyone who passed beneath the tree on which it grew. The story ends with a decree that who should ever stand under the humble mistletoe, no harm should befall them, only a kiss, a token of love. What could be more natural than to translate the spirit of this old myth into a Christian way of thinking and accept the mistletoe as the emblem of that Love which conquers Death? Its medicinal properties, whether real or imaginary, make it a just emblematic of that Tree of Life, the leaves of which are for the healing of the nations thus paralleling it to the Virgin Birth of Christ.

    Source(s): theholidayspot.com/christmas/history/mistletoe.htm
  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Mistletoe was originally a symbol of Jesus in that it stayed green through the winter when all else dies.

    It was used above the couple at weddings to symbolize their love under Jesus and since they kissed under it, it was eventually modified and secularized to be something just to kiss under.

  • 1 decade ago

    We hang it because its tradition! Plus its fun to kiss under it!

  • 1 decade ago

    I only know that it is tradition to hang it. Where the kissing thing came from it was probrably just some kind of random joke made by someone that caught on.

  • Because any excuse is a good excuse to kiss the man of my dreams

  • 1 decade ago

    No it's just an old custom, probably started by some one who wanted to kiss several people to see which one is best kisser!!!!

Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.