Sunday, 16 December 2012

Mistletoe, Christmas, Norse & Kisses

Mistletoe, Christmas, Norse Mythology & Kisses.

I have no fresh mistletoe to decorate my house, but hope to establish some on an apple tree in my organic garden. Of course, I could use artificial mistletoe but have decided not to.

There are many legends about this plant sacred to druids and the properties ascribed to it. However the source of kissing under the mistletoe seems to be the legend about the Norse goddess of love, Frigga, and her son Balder, the god of the summer sun. Balder told his mother he had dreamt of his death. Anxious because it would mean the end of life on earth in the way she knew it, and about the loss of her son, she asked every being in the five elements to promise not to hurt Balder. Unfortunately, Frigga forgot to ask mistletoe that grew on apple trees to make the promise and it came about that mistletoe caused Balder’s death and then brought him back to life. Frigga’s tears turned into white berries, which she blessed, saying that anyone who stood beneath mistletoe would be safe and had the right to a kiss which symbolised love. It seems that this legend is the source of the custom of kissing under the mistletoe, which became a tradition at Christmas. Possibly, Viking invaders introduced the legend, which 21st century people might consider quaint, but if I can grow some, I would like to decorate my house with mistletoe.

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