Article Date: December 24, 2010
Everyone loves a Mistletoe kiss!
"Look where you're standing." says the boy. Sheepishly she replies, "Well I guess we have to kiss... if you want to." The origin of the tradition of kissing under the mistletoe is vague. However, the tradition may have stemmed from either the Viking association of the plant with Frigga (the goddess of love) or from the ancient belief that mistletoe was related to fertility. Another explanation for the tradition is that it is derived from the festival of Saturnalia, a popular mid-December celebration in ancient Rome.[source: BBC.com].
The original correct mistletoe etiquette was for the woman to remove one berry when she kisses a man. When all the berries are gone, there's no more kissing permitted underneath that plant. (For obvious reasons this practice has been disappearing.)
One legend states that a couple who kisses underneath mistletoe will have good luck, but a couple neglecting to perform the ritual will have bad luck. Specifically, it is believed that a couple kissing under the mistletoe ensure themselves of marriage and a long, happy life, while an unmarried woman not kissed under the mistletoe will remain single for another year. Maidens may place a sprig of the plant under their pillow at night in the same manner a child places his or her lost tooth in anticipation of a visit from the Tooth Fairy. Instead of exchanging teeth for money, however, the sprig of Mistletoe allows women to dream of their Prince Charming. Burning a mistletoe plant is also thought to foretell a woman’s marital bliss, or lack thereof. A mistletoe that burns steadily prophesies a healthy marriage, while fickle flames may doom a woman to an ill-suited partner.
While mistletoe is widely viewed as a symbol of love and fertility, it's also representative of peace. Ancient tales tell of enemies who encounter each other underneath trees bearing mistletoe. The enemies lay down their arms, embrace, and agree to a truce until the next day [source: Perry].
This act of goodwill is yet another possibility for why we kiss under mistletoe: abstaining from violence and exchanging greetings under the plant may have prompted the custom of kissing.
The Mistletoe Kiss is a wonderful Christmas tradition! So, kiss away.