Editors Note: Original article was written by Jennifer Lance of Eco-Child’s Play. Visit Eco Child’s Play for advice on organic, fun and chemical-free living for your kids.
We have an abundance of mistletoe growing in the oak trees on our property, so when I saw tiny bags of the plant for sale in our local coop, I balked at the price ($4.95). I think I should go in the mistletoe business! I don’t have much affinity for this plant, as it is a parasite and smothers some of my trees; however, my herbalist friend has taught me new respect for mistletoe when she made a bough with my daughter to hang over our door.
From kissing under mistletoe to placing a sprig in a baby’s crib, the legends of mistletoe are great. According to:
Mistletoe was used by the Druid priesthood in a very special ceremony held around this time…five days after the New Moon following winter solstice, to be precise. The Druid priests would cut mistletoe from a holy oak tree with a golden sickle. The branches had to be caught before they touched the ground.
Celts believed this parasitic plant held the soul of the host tree.
The priest then divided the branches into many sprigs and distributed them to the people, who hung them over doorways as protection against thunder, lightning and other evils. The folklore, and the magical powers of this plant, blossomed over the centuries A sprig placed 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. And so forth.
But what about the holiday tradition of kissing under mistletoe? This legend dates back to Norse mythology. Frigga, the goddess of love and beauty, wished to protect her son Balder.
Read more about mistletoe at Eco Child’s Play.