The Good and the Bad of Mistletoe
Life is all about balance. Even the mistletoe has ups and downs.
I was thinking about the story of mistletoe because it sounds like one of the all time great scams. It just seems like the kind of story where some lame guy couldn't get the girl he liked to kiss him so he came up with a story that if she stood under the mistletoe he could get a smooch from her. Not the greatest of ploys but I like to believe it worked for him. So I wanted to see what the actual reason is that we kiss under the mistletoe.
First, the good news.
Many historians believe that it goes back to the ancient Norse mythology where Baldur was killed by an enemy's arrow that was made from mistletoe. Baldur's mother was the goddess Frigg who cried onto the arrow which then produced the white berries that form on mistletoe. She then used those berries to fill the arrow wound and it brought her son back to life. So Frigg blessed the mistletoe plant and vowed to kiss anyone that passed beneath it.
Mistletoe has also been considered a plant that increases life and fertility according to the Celtic Druids who saw this was the only plant that remained green in the winter.
Now the bad news.
Mistletoe itself is actually a parasite. It's normally spread on trees through bird droppings. The plant attaches itself to host tissue (a tree) and then grows out of the branch. Think about that as you smooch under it.