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Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Stuff Your Stocking Blogfest: Donna Hatch
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!
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.