Beginning January 1, 2013

Stop by and let us know what you think of the new look!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Stuff Your Stocking Blogfest: Donna Hatch

The tradition of kissing under the mistletoe is as ancient as it is fun. No one seems to know the true origin of kissing under the mistletoe, but most sources seem to trace it back to old Scandinavia. It probably stems from pagan rituals. Druids believed it possessed magical powers of healing—even against poison—and fertility. Other herbologists claim mistletoe is both an aphrodisiac and an abortive plant, which might be why some of the earliest customs involved more than an innocent kiss.

In the Celtic language, mistletoe means literally, “all-healer.” Modern medicine cannot prove this, so it probably comes from superstition based on the phenomenon that even in the dead of winter, mistletoe stays green and healthy because it is feeding off the trees serving as its host. Druids performed a sacred sacrificial ritual underneath the mistletoe for the benefit of sick or infertile land and animals.

But getting back to the tradition of kissing under the mistletoe. Its earliest uses are linked to its symbolism of peace. Supposedly warring parties would lay down their weapons and declare a truce while in the presence of mistletoe. Quarrelling couples would kiss and make up underneath a sprig of mistletoe. This probably led later to the tradition to simply kissing anyone “caught” standing underneath the mistletoe, which probably led to some interesting situations. Until recently, the young man would pluck off one of the white berries after kissing a girl. When all the berries were plucked, the kissing, at least while under the mistletoe, also ceased. Reportedly, maids in a boarding house would wait under the mistletoe, get kissed, and then the men were expected to pay a shilling.

At one point, the kissing bunch became a Christmas decoration in England and early American homes. The kissing bunch was constructed of two hoops tied into a round frame, then decorated with ribbons, holly, apples, oranges and other bright fruits. In the center of the frame rested figures of the infant Christ, Mary, and Joseph. A sprig of mistletoe hung below this.

So the next time you need a good kissing, stand under a bunch of mistletoe in the vicinity of a person you’d like to kiss, (bring your own mistletoe if necessary) and expect a kiss. Throat-clearing may help. But remember, no berry plucking necessary!

Author of Historical Romance and Fantasy, award-winning author Donna Hatch is a sought-after speaker and workshop presenter. Her writing awards include the Golden Rose and the prestigious Golden Quill. Her passion for writing began at age 8 when she wrote her first short story, and she wrote her first full-length novel during her sophomore year in high school, a fantasy which was later published. In between caring for six children, (7 counting her husband), her day job, her work as a freelance editor and copywriter, and her many volunteer positions, she still makes time to write.

After all, writing IS an obsession.

All of her heroes are patterned after her husband of over 20 years, who continues to prove that there really is a happily ever after.

One lucky commenter on this post will win his/her choice of a print or download copy of Donna's Regency Romance, The Stranger She Married. Print copy only available in US or Canada, please.


Debby said...

I love that you use your own hubby as a pattern for your heroes.
debby236 at gmail dot com

Dawn said...

Interesting fact about misletoe...and love that your husband is your hero!!

Jean P said...

Learned something about mistletoe from reading your post and love the fact that your heroes are patterned after your husband.
Happy Holidays!

skpetal at hotmail dot com

Na said...

I didn't know kissing under the mistletoe symbolized peace. That's wonderful.


CelticAmazon said...

Enjoyed the history behind the mistletoe tradition.
panthers.ravens@yahoo dot com

Catherine Lee said...

Thanks for the mini-mistletoe lesson.

Ho, Ho, Ho...

Donna E said...

I like that all your heroes are patterned after your husband -- the reality rather than having to use the wished for.. 20 yrs of marriage is wonderful - but there's more and better to come (we celebrated 44 in 2011)!

Would love to have a print copy of your book The Stranger She Married..

shadow_kohler said...

aww. to have your own hero. so sweet! its awesome that you have a piece of your husband in your characters. ;) great post! thanks!

Frank said...

Congrats on your own hero, Donna! How lovely that you've got your own HEA! ;) Thanks for sharing about mistletoe--have never encountered it in real life, but it surely makes for a fun story!

--flchen1, posting using DH's account
f dot chen at comcast dot net

VampedChik said...

Very cool. Thanks for sharing!

Kathryn Merkel said...

I'm sure you husband is delighted to know that he doesn't have to compete with any of your hero's, since they are all based on him.

drainbamaged.gyzmo at