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This turned into a tradition in ancient times when visitors would kiss the hand of a host under the mistletoe when they arrived as a way of honouring the Norse legend.
Since then, the tradition has evolved to the custom we all know and in England, kissing under the mistletoe was first referred to in late 18th century England.
If you’ve ever found yourself standing underneath the evergreen parasitic plant commonly known as mistletoe, chances are some handsome Southern gent felt inclined to plant a big ol’ smooch on your lips (or cheek).
However, this customary winter tradition isn’t some new, trendy way to show affection.
One French tradition holds that the reason mistletoe is poisonous is because it was growing on a tree that was used to make the cross on which Jesus Christ was crucified.
The Greeks were known to use it as a cure for everything from menstrual cramps to spleen disorders, and the Roman naturalist Pliny the Elder noted it could be used as a balm against epilepsy, ulcers and poisons.
Frigga was so distraught that her tears turned to white berries, coating the plant and symbolising her love for him.
Frigga was overjoyed by the white berries so she blessed the plant and promised a kiss to all who passed beneath it from that day onward.
Mistletoe’s associations with fertility and vitality continued through the Middle Ages, and by the 18th century it had become widely incorporated into Christmas celebrations.
Just how it made the jump from sacred herb to holiday decoration remains up for debate, but the kissing tradition appears to have first caught on among servants in England before spreading to the middle classes.
Quite the contrary, as the mistletoe’s roots run deeper than the tree bark it’s firmly attached to, and its history dates all the way back to the first century A. So before you pucker up at a party this holiday season, you should know just how the oft-used doorway decoration became synonymous with Yuletide kissing.