The tradition of the Christmas Mistletoe dates back to ancient history. It is practiced in many cultures. Mistletoe plants are a sign of peace, goodwill, and love. This important Christmas symbol is found from England to Australia and New Zealand, all across Europe and over to Iran, and no less an important tradition in the U.S. and Canada.
From as long ago as ancient druid tradition, the mistletoe represented a sign of peace and goodwill. Warring tribes chancing across it stopped their battles and observed a temporary truce. It was displayed as a sign of truce and peace. Some cultures believed it guards against witchcraft. Other cultures used it in the practice of medicine for a variety of illnesses.
The value of Mistletoe in ancient times and the tradition carried a broad enough array of benefits, applications, and values. But, the most important of traditions is in the world of love and fertility. Gentlemen, exhibit extreme caution! In some cultures, most notably in Europe, if you kiss a woman under a mistletoe, it is a proposal of marriage! In many parts of the world, the tradition is much less extreme and shall we say, long-lasting? According to most current-day traditions, a young woman simply stands under the mistletoe and awaits her lover’s kiss. Heaven help the young beau that does not take a hint. Hey guys, in the U.S. it’s all right to reverse roles. So, if you haven’t had a kiss in a while…….
Oh, and one more thought. While you are having a jolly old time under the mistletoe, the proper procedure is to take a berry off the sprig every time you kiss. When the berries are gone, so are the kisses. Make sure to make those kisses last.
Importantly, the plant’s leaves are poisonous. So, it’s essential to keep people and pets from ingesting this plant. And, if there are little ones in the family, you may want to opt for the artificial Mistletoe for just a few years for safety’s sake.
Did you know? This symbol of love has long and deep traditional roots. But, do you know where those roots grow? Mistletoe is a parasite. It is a plant that lives on trees. It has thick, leathery leaves with white berries.
The plants can be found almost anywhere in the world. There are two major varieties. A North American variety and a European type. It is a parasite, living on a variety of trees and shrubs. Mistletoe sends its roots under the host trees’ bark where it taps into the trees’ nutrients. While Mistletoe is a parasite, it can live as a plant in soil. Mistletoe seeds are spread by birds who carry seeds stuck on their feet or beaks, and who deposit them in their droppings across a forest. Mistletoe can spread so much across a tree that it can weaken, or even kill its host.
Harvesting Mistletoe can be simple or problematic. If you are lucky enough to find it on a low-growing shrub, you can easily pick it off, and head home. But, most mistletoe is high up in the trees. For sprigs out of reach of a ladder, people resort to shooting it down! Along the way, many of the intended “targets” get too shot up to use.