What is the REAL tradition of the Mistletoe?







What is mistletoe?

The name mistletoe was originally applied to Viscum album (European mistletoe, of the family Santalaceae in the order Santalales), the only species native in Great Britain and much of Europe. European mistletoe is readily recognized by its smooth-edged oval evergreen leaves borne in pairs along the woody stem, and waxy white berries in dense clusters of two to six. It is a poisonous plant that causes acute gastrointestinal problems including stomach pain and diarrhea along with low pulse.[1] The genus Viscum is not native to North America, but Viscum album has been introduced to California.[2]


Why do people kiss under the mistletoe?

In Norse mythology, Baldr was a god of vegetation. His mother Frigga, prompted by a prophetic dream, made every plant, animal and inanimate object promise not to harm him. But Frigga overlooked the mistletoe plant — and the mischievous god Loki took advantage of this oversight, tricking the blind god Höðr into killing Baldr with a spear fashioned from mistletoe. Baldr's death brought winter into the world, until the gods restored him to life. Frigga declared the mistletoe sacred, ordering that from now on it should bring love rather than death into the world. Happily complying with Frigga's wishes, any two people passing under the plant from now on would celebrate Baldr's resurrection by kissing under the mistletoe.