romans

Mistletoe symbol throughout time

*With this post I want to wish to all of you wonderful preparation for the upcoming holiday days. Wish you love, happiness, warm in your heart and joy.

Mistletoe

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Today, mistletoe is associated largely by the tradition of kissing modestly under it. However, back into the ancient times, there are many other practices as well relating to it.

For instance, in ancient Greece, the plant was sacred and rare to be found. According to the myth, once the Gods were offended by the plant, so they refused to look at it when women were being kissed under it.
The ancient druids had different specification of the plant, though they regarded it as a sacred and gave it their reverence. Interesting fact to reflect upon is that they considered the plant to consist the sperm of the God. Moreover, they used it with herbal function to cure almost everything, from witchcraft to antidote against poison. Nonetheless, one long standing tradition among the Druids was that after the sixth day of the winter solstice (‘Alban Arthan’), they used to cut the three, with a golden knife being extremely precautious the three not to touch the ground as it could lose its magic powers of protection, and divide its branches after distribution among the people. Those branches were hung in the doors of their homes in order to protect them from evil spirits and all devilish spirits.

In Norse Mythology, there is a legend explaining the origin of the mistletoe. Everything began with the norse god Balder, who was the most beloved one by all, but mostly by his mother , Frigga. She wanted to protect her son from all the evil in the world, that’s why she went far and wide into the world collecting promises from everything which contained the four elements – fire, water, air and earth. However , she chose Loki to find her the loophole, which was the mistletoe. Not only did he find it, but he made arrow from the wood of the plant. Unfortunately, Loki was not filled with good intentions, he gave the arrow to Balder ‘s brother, who was blind, dictating every move of the latter, the arrow pointed Balder’s heart and he died. As a consequences, Frigga’s tears turned into the mistletoe ‘s berries.

During the Romans’ times , the practice of kissing under a branch of this plant, could be traced back into the festive celebration of Saturnalia, a festival which brought into a daylight all kind of indulgence, such as conspicuous consumption of drinks, food and practicing sexual activities . The day on which all of that took place was 17th December, after that it was chosen someone who pleased himself more than the other, he/she was sacrificed in order all evil influence in people’s hearts to be exterminated by this ritual.

Back into the medieval times, many people hung branches of the plant in front of their doors or home’s ceiling, they believed that the plant could extinguish fire and make the evil spirits go away. As we could see the promotion of the idea of the mistletoe as a symbol of the good, harmony and protection preserved despite the fact that so different group of societies used and adopted its meaning and origin.