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Mistletoe: What is the Meaning of Mistletoe?

Updated on June 15, 2016

Mistletoe is well known as a delightful and fun Christmas decoration. There is an interesting story however, behind this much loved Christmas greenery. Perhaps you should know a little of the mystery before you share a kiss under the mistletoe this Christmas...

Kiss Me Quick

The Meaning of Mistletoe
The Meaning of Mistletoe

Mistletoe Ball Christmas Ornament

Kiss Me Under the Mistletoe Christmas Headband

A Little of The Story

Imagine you are a goddess; a Norse goddess by the name of Frigga who has the third eye (can read the future). Knowing your beautiful son Baldur will meet an untimely death you visit all things in nature and plead with them never to hurt your beloved son.

The years roll by and Baldur and his friends are playing; he is showing off is strength as his friends throw sticks and stones at his broad chest. Loki the trickster; a nasty little guy has made a new arrow and makes his way toward the group. He sees Baldur in all his splendor. Baldur's brother is also among the group, though he doesn't throw anything at his brother.

"Why do you not challenge your brothers strength, Hödur?" Loki asks, gazing into the blank face of Hödur.

"How can I, when I cannot see?" he retorted. Poor Hödur was blind.

"I shall guide your arm. Here use my arrow." Loki thrusts the arrow toward Hödur. Taking the arrow and the offered help Hödur lifts his bow, aims the arrow and fires straight at his brother. Baldur immediately collapses in a heap. Hearing the commotion you run to your sons side. He is already dead. Picking up the arrow you see the tip is made from mistletoe. The one plant you had not spoken to, with regard to your son, thinking it too insignificant to matter. Loki had deliberately killed your child.


More to The Story

It is said that Frigga implored for her son to be returned to life and asked that mistletoe be known as a symbol for love and everyone to kiss when they pass under it.

A Scandinavian custom in times of war, saw enemies seize fire and take the rest of the day off if they should happen to meet under the mistletoe while fighting in the forrest. It seems mistletoe bestowed a little peace among the soldiers at war.

Celtic history associates mistletoe with Druids (high priests) as they knew of the effects the plant had on consciousness. They made potions from extracts of the berries and used the brew in their ceremonies.

The Greeks believed that mistletoe had magical powers, bestowing life and fertility, a sexual symbol with aphrodisiac qualities. They also thought the plant would protect them.

The middle ages saw branches hung from the ceiling to ward of evil spirits. The early Europeans thought hanging mistletoe would send witches for a hike.

Mistletoe has a lot to answer for: from poison to passion to protecter. To day the plant is mainly thought of over the festive Christmas season, inspiring love and marriage to those who share a kiss under it. Once kisses have been exchanged one of the berries should be plucked and so forth till all the berries are gone, so make sure you get a bunch with plenty of berries. However, if you don't get a smooch under the mistletoe, an old European tradition says to burn it, otherwise the only lips you'll kiss for the rest of the year are your own (in the mirror presumably).

Parasite by Another Name

Mistletoe is a parasite
Mistletoe is a parasite

This romantic little bugger is actually a parasite and lives on the branches and trunks of trees. It's roots dig into the tree and take nutrients to keep the mistletoe well fed. This lazy foliage can feed itself (photosynthesis) but is more commonly found stuck to a tree. During winter months while the tree loses it's leaves the mistletoe sports a fine attire of greenery. Apple trees are most generous to mistletoe. However this leafy leach can sometimes be found on accommodating oak trees. Mistletoe has a few close relatives that vary slightly in appearance. You will find mistletoe grows in abundance and is quite easily recognized by the mossy birds nest style cone that hangs from tree branches (pictured above).


Hey... I'm really a Prince, honest...

A Little Lip Service

The next time you decide to pucker up under the mistletoe be sure it's with someone for better and not for worse.

An old story tells the tale, that being kissed under the mistletoe is the sign of a forth coming marriage proposal. You better make sure whoever you kiss is the 'I do' type (yippee) and not the head for the hills type (yikes).

Oh! ...... and another thing ladies. As for kissing a frog who will magically turn into Prince Charming. Hate to break it to you but that's just a fairy tale and there's not a damn thing mistletoe can do about it.


You're at a Christmas work party and a colleague you can't stand (who also has bad breath) puckers up under the mistletoe; do you?

See results

To All You Merry Folk

Thank you for taking part in this poll and contributing to this hub. It seems a lot of us unfortunately suffer with mouth ulcers, especially at Christmas time, such a shame with all that mistletoe hanging around :)

© 2010 Gabriel Wilson

Comments

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    • Gabriel Wilson profile imageAUTHOR

      Gabriel Wilson 

      5 years ago from Madeira, Portugal

      Thank you for your comment aditi and your time. It's always great to get feedback :)

    • profile image

      aditi 

      5 years ago

      gabriel that's a wondrful page and interesting story

    • Gabriel Wilson profile imageAUTHOR

      Gabriel Wilson 

      6 years ago from Madeira, Portugal

      Hey kimaya. Do you it's really Bieber?

    • profile image

      kimaya 

      6 years ago

      its a pleasant song

    • profile image

      tejas 

      6 years ago

      kiss me under the mistletoe

    • Gabriel Wilson profile imageAUTHOR

      Gabriel Wilson 

      6 years ago from Madeira, Portugal

      Hey daisy. Tanx for reading:)

    • profile image

      daisy 

      6 years ago

      hey! it's a very beautiful song...... keep enjoy,buddies!!

    • Gabriel Wilson profile imageAUTHOR

      Gabriel Wilson 

      6 years ago from Madeira, Portugal

      Hi muneeba, tanx for popping in. Believe it or not those mythical stories are quite true. It seems mistletoe has had many meanings throughout history :)

    • profile image

      muneeba 

      6 years ago

      huh! that's quite an interesting mythical story...dunno how people make up stories such as this

    • Gabriel Wilson profile imageAUTHOR

      Gabriel Wilson 

      6 years ago from Madeira, Portugal

      Hey Rokker. The meaning of mistletoe is the way it is; no good or bad about it. Unless of course you're referring to poor old Baldur; now that's just bad.

    • Gabriel Wilson profile imageAUTHOR

      Gabriel Wilson 

      6 years ago from Madeira, Portugal

      Hi leah. Tanx for reading :)

    • profile image

      ROKKER 

      6 years ago

      OK NOT TOO BAD OR NOT TOO GOOD

    • profile image

      leah 

      6 years ago

      nice. i was really confused about the meaning of mistletoe .now i know that it is such a great thing.

    • Gabriel Wilson profile imageAUTHOR

      Gabriel Wilson 

      6 years ago from Madeira, Portugal

      Cute verse; who said romance is dead?

    • profile image

      Justin Bieber 

      7 years ago

      its the most beautiful time of the year

      lights fill the streets spreading so mush cheer

      i shuld b playing in the winnter snow

      but imma b under the mistletoe

      i don't wanna miss out on the holiday

      but i cant stop staring at ur face

      i shuld b playing in the winter snow

      but imma b under the mistle toe

      for youuu shawty for you

      for youuu shawty for you

      under the mistletoe....

      Hope you all watched my new mistletoe music video! I just released my album too! Hope you buy it! Luv ya!

      ~Justin

    • Gabriel Wilson profile imageAUTHOR

      Gabriel Wilson 

      7 years ago from Madeira, Portugal

      Hi namrah, yes it's funny how a little parasite can bring out the romance in us! Tanx for reading :)

    • profile image

      namrah 

      7 years ago

      so nice n it is a very romantic feeling i can think

    • Gabriel Wilson profile imageAUTHOR

      Gabriel Wilson 

      7 years ago from Madeira, Portugal

      Great minds think alike!

    • Les Trois Chenes profile image

      Les Trois Chenes 

      7 years ago from Videix, Limousin, South West France

      I've been collecting pictures of all the mistletoe around us in Limousin, deepest rural France. You have written most of what I was going to say but with a great deal more humour. LOL

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