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What Is The Meaning Of The Mistletoe Tradition

By Max. D Gray. Updated: January 20, 2017
What Is The Meaning Of The Mistletoe Tradition

During the holiday season, decorating with mistletoe and exchanging a kiss under the mistletoe Christmas decorations is a tradition that our grandparents will remember and a Christmas tradition which continues to this day. But why do we kiss under the mistletoe and where did this seasonal tradition originate? Throughout the western world, Mistletoe has held significance as a ceremonial and decorative plant for centuries, but it is still somewhat unclear exactly when and where this tradition emerged and what the meaning of mistletoe is.

So if you are wondering when and how the tradition of kissing under the mistletoe originated, OneHowTo have put together some useful information about this ancient tradition to help you discover more about what is the meaning of mistletoe and why we kiss under the mistletoe.

You may also be interested in: What Is The Meaning Of Christmas Ornaments?

Where Does Mistletoe Come From

Many people are curious as to what the meaning of mistletoe is, referring to the actual word, as it may sound strange or they may have heard it has an anglo-saxon meaning. If this is the case, then read on.

So what does mistletoe mean in anglo-saxon? the word itself literally means something like Poo-stick (mistle being an old anglo-saxon word for dung, and toe believed to mean branch or twig). So what is the reason for this unflattering name and how did it come to be used as a decoration?

Well, mistletoe is a semi-parasitic plant which attaches itself to trees and steals their nutrients. The name likely comes from the fact that it often grew from the faeces of birds who had eaten the berries of the mistletoe plant.

The reason mistletoe acquired cultural significance and eventually became used as the decoration we know today goes back to the time of the Ancient Druids or Celts.

What Is The Meaning Of The Mistletoe Tradition - Where Does Mistletoe Come From

The Meaning Behind Mistletoe Traditions

Mistletoe has been associated with fertility and life since the times of the ancient Celts. Ancient ceremonies used Mistletoe to provide fertility and aphrodisiac effects, and it was also regarded as the soul of the oak trees it grew from. Later in the middle ages it was hung to ward off evil spirits. With European migration to america, the traditions of Mistletoe were taken across the Atlantic.

What Is The Meaning Of The Mistletoe Tradition - The Meaning Behind Mistletoe Traditions

Why We Kiss Under The Mistletoe

In modern times it is considered an annual Christmas tradition to exchange a kiss under the mistletoe at least once during the holiday season, but how exactly did the modern version of this tradition emerge and what does kissing under the mistletoe mean?

As the tradition evolved from it's pagan origins it kept the same meaning of fertility, and was seen as a sign of a lasting relationship, or even an indication of engagement to get married between a couple. In the past, and to some extent today, it was considered very bad luck for a lady to refuse a kiss when offered!

If you found this interesting why not read about different Christmas traditions around the world or the meanings of different Christmas ornaments.

If you want to read similar articles to What Is The Meaning Of The Mistletoe Tradition, we recommend you visit our Festivities & Celebrations category.

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