Under the Mistletoe

From November through January, there is a whirlwind of holidays that seem to come fast. Holiday stress of seeing family that you haven’t seen all year, on top of the yearly time shopping for gifts, it feels like in a blink of an eye we’re back into February. Where did it all go? If you come from a family like mine then rest assured there will be the traditional foods that we only get during this time of year. Least not forget that one big family argument that reminds us that it’s a good thing we only see each once a year. But outside of the stress of the holidays, there are some other great parts. I never really understood the tree or the eggnog. However, what I do feel is pretty interesting is the Mistletoe and how it relates to relationships.

I have a family member who has been married a few times. Now well into his twilight years, he lives alone. He may be thinking, what’s meant to be will be. Even with that thinking, I can’t help but wonder about how much pressure the holidays bring to those of us who are single. It’s that added stress of walking into a restaurant or a relative’s home. What if I were to tell you that Mistletoe had a little something to do with those feelings?

In the 18th Century, the exchanging of kisses between a man and a woman was adopted as a promise to marry. At Christmas a young lady standing under a ball of mistletoe cannot refuse to be kissed. The kiss could mean deep romance, lasting friendship and goodwill. It was believed that if the girl remained without a kiss, she could not expect to marry the following year. There are many cultures have found Mistletoe to have meaning.  It is the ritual that continues even today where we hang mistletoe up at Christmas, and using mistletoe as a design symbol around Christmastime – which coincides with the Winter Solstice. Later on, the more brutal ritual of the physical emasculation of the old king was replaced by the symbolic. In Greek mythology, mistletoe was thought to be a life-giving plant. Often times, Mistletoe was used during their special holiday of Saturnalia, a winter holiday which also coincided with the Winter Solstice festival time. Later on, because mistletoe was thought to impart fertility, it was used as part of the ancient Greek for marriage rites.

Since that time, year after year, Mistletoe during the holidays has been seen as a symbol of love. It continues to hold true to having some magical thinking toward love. Perhaps a little Mistletoe in our pockets may make it come true. No matter what your relationship status may be; either single, married, or in a difficult marriage, isn’t it ironic how the therapeutic effects of an herb could bring us peace during this time of year. I will never look at Mistletoe the same again. Happy Holidays!


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