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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Stuff Your Stocking Blogfest: Paty Jager

Kissing under the Mistletoe

Mistletoe is one of the traditions of the Christmas Season. But did you know—

Mistletoe is an evergreen. The traditions of displaying evergreens at Christmas came about as a way to bring color and the green hope of spring into the home.

This plant however is a parasitic shrub. It grows on trees, living off the host plant. They are not full parasites, since the plants are capable of photosynthesis. But these mistletoe plants are parasitic in the sense that they send a special kind of root system down into their hosts, the trees upon which they grow, in order to extract nutrients from the trees.

Mistletoe has long been regarded as an aphrodisiac and fertility herb. It may also possess abortifacient qualities, which would help explain its association with uninhibited sexuality.

The unusual botanical history of mistletoe goes a long way towards explaining the awe in which it was held in the Norse myths. For in spite of not being rooted in the soil, mistletoe remained green throughout the winter, while the trees upon which it grew and upon which it fed did not (the European mistletoe often grows on apple trees; more rarely on oaks). This little plant remaining green while the host plant died fascinated the unscientific masses.

The folklore, and the magical powers of this plant, spread through the centuries It was thought placing a sprig in a baby's cradle would protect the child from faeries. Giving a sprig to the first cow calving after New Year would protect the entire herd.

Ancient Scandinavia and the Norse mythology is where the tale of kissing und the mistletoe started. It was considered a plant of peace in Scandinavian history. If enemies found themselves under mistletoe in the forest they laid down their weapons and called a truce until the next day.

Most say kissing under the mistletoe is an English custom even though there is a story that dates back to Norse mythology. It is about an overprotective mother.

The Norse god Balder was the best loved of all the gods. His mother was Frigga, goddess of love and beauty. She loved her son so much that she wanted to make sure no harm would come to him. So she went through the world, securing promises from everything that sprang from the four elements--fire, water, air, and earth--that they would not harm her beloved Balder.

Leave it to Loki, a sly, evil spirit, to find the loophole. The loophole was mistletoe. He made an arrow from its wood. To make the prank even nastier, he took the arrow to Hoder, Balder's brother, who was blind. Guiding Holder's hand, Loki directed the arrow at Balder's heart, and he fell dead.

Frigga's tears became the mistletoe's white berries. In the version of the story with a happy ending, Balder is restored to life, and Frigga is so grateful that she reverses the reputation of the offending plant--making it a symbol of love and promising to bestow a kiss upon anyone who passes under it.

Is hanging mistletoe a tradition in your family?

My holiday gift to readers is a free novella that can be downloaded from Kindle, Nook. Ibook or Smashwords until January 1st. Christmas Redemption is a western historical romance novella.

Wife, mother, grandmother, and the one who cleans pens and delivers the hay; award winning author Paty Jager and her husband currently farm 350 acres when not dashing around visiting their children and grandchildren. She not only writes the western lifestyle, she lives it.

Paty Jager is a member of RWA, EPIC, WW, and COWG. Romance publisher Wild Rose Press has published soon to be ten books and a short story. She is venturing into the new world of self-publishing ebooks. She edited for an e-publisher for four and a half years and teaches workshops at conferences, writers meetings, and online.

Her contemporary Western, Perfectly Good Nanny, won the 2008 Eppie for Best Contemporary Romance and Spirit of the Mountain, a historical paranormal set among the Nez Perce, garnered 1st place in the paranormal category of the Lories Best Published Book Contest.

You can learn more about her at her; her website: or on Facebook:!/paty.jager and Twitter: @patyjag.


shadow_kohler said...

oh, i have this. i havent had a chance to read it yet but its in the pile. ;) thanks! happy new year!

Paty Jager said...

Shadow, Thanks for downloading. I hope you enjoy the story.

Christine Young said...

Very interesting!

Callie said...

Interesting story on miseltoe, something I never knew. I already downloaded Christmas Redemption, and can't wait to read it!

Lynda Kaye Frazier said...

I loved your story about the Misteltoe. Many facts I didn't know. Can't wait to read your story.

Caroline Clemmons said...

Paty, fascinating posst. I had mistakenly thought mistletoe was involved in English customs, so I was very interested to learn more.

Debby said...

I have learned a lot with these posts. It has been fun. Thanks so much
debby236 at gmail dot com

Nancy G said...

I knew the Norse history of mistletoe, but didn't know some of the other stuff. Thanks for a very interesting and informative post.

nancyg5997 at gmail dot com

VampedChik said...

huh thanks so much! I love learning new things and stuff from different cultures!

Chrisbails said...

Great story about mistletow. I love learning interesting trivia and facts. Thanks for the chance to win.

Paty Jager said...

Hi Chris! Thanks for stopping in.

Thanks Callie. I hope you enjoy the Free Read.

Hi Lynda, I found the information interesting, too.

Paty Jager said...

Hi Caroline, Mistletoe was in English customs as well. A bunch was hung above the door of the scullery and when the stable hands would come to get a kiss from the maidens a berry would be plucked and once all the berries were gone, no more kisses could be taken.

Paty Jager said...

Debby, I'm glad you're enjoying the blogfest.

You're welcome, Nancy.

Amber, check out my personal blog tomorrow for New Year's celebrations.

Chrisbails, Thanks! And you're very welcome.

Sarah Raplee said...

Interesting post, Paty! The history of traditions is always interesting. I'd never heard this Norse legend until now.


Paty Jager said...

Hi Sarah, It is interesting finding out the reasons behind the traditions we take for granted now. Thanks for stopping in.

flchen1 said...

How fun, Paty! I've read about mistletoe all my life but haven't ever seen it in real life! Thanks for the history!

Hoping your celebrating was merry and memorable, and wishing you a joyful new year!

f dot chen at comcast dot net

Paty Jager said...

Hi Fedora!
We have mistletoe on our juniper trees but it doesn't look a thing like the oak tree mistletoe.

Thanks! I hope you have a wonderful holiday season as well and enjoy a healthy and prosperous new year.

Terri Reed said...

Hi, Paty. I haven't hung mistletoe in years. I forgot about it. Very interesting history/myth about the plant.
Thanks for sharing.

Maggie said...

Hi, Paty. I've always loved the mistletoe tradition. As a child, I can remember standing there and beckoning to my grandfather to find me and take me up in a big hug and a kiss on the cheek. Later it was boyfriends as a teenager. Now, even as a long time married woman, I still put up mistletoe and stand beneath it beckoning to my husband. :)

I downloaded Christmas Redemption, read it one sitting and immediatly wanted more. Great story! I'm now catching up on all your westerns that I missed over the last few years. Fun! Fun! Fun!

Paty Jager said...

Hi Terri,
Thanks for stopping in.

Hi Maggie. Your tradition of the mistletoe is wonderful. I'm glad you like Christmas Redemption. Enjoy the other westerns. I'll have a new one out in January.