The word mistletoe is thought to stem from Saxon mistl-tan, meaning “different twig”

The word mistletoe is thought to stem from Saxon mistl-tan, meaning "different twig." Image: marilyn barbone/Shutterstock.com

Druid priests thought mistletoe to be a sacred plant because it didn’t grow from roots in the ground.

While historians are uncertain about why kissing under the mistletoe started, there is a general consensus regarding when and where the custom began, and how it became popular during Christmastime.

According to Norse mythology, Norse god of the summer sun, Baldur, dreamed about his own death and fell into depression, believing that every living thing was out to kill him.

His mother Frigg, goddess of love, marriage, and beauty, took an oath from all of the elements, plants, and animals that they would not harm Baldur, but neglected to extract that same promise from the young and insignificant mistletoe.

When Loki, god of mischief, discovered the oversight, he made a poisoned dart with the mistletoe and used it to kill Baldur in front of all the gods.

The berries became the tears of his mother, and it was decreed that henceforth, mistletoe would bring only love into the world and not death.

It was placed under doorways so that it would never be overlooked again, and any two people passing under the plant would exchange a kiss in memory of Baldur.


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Written by

Anna Ellis

Originally from the UK, Anna is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]

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