MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Ah, some Christmas time traditions never grow old like festive lights, presents under the tree and, who could forget, kissing under a sprig of mistletoe.
But how the heck did that plant get chosen for the smooching custom?
Well, believe it or not, the tradition of hanging mistletoe, which grows on a wide range of trees including oak and willow, goes back to the ancient Druids, according to whychristmas.com. It was supposed to have mystical powers and ward off evil spirits.
Mistletoe is also said to be a sexual symbol, because of the consistency and color of the berry juice as well as the belief that it is an aphrodisiac, the “soul” of the oak from which it grows, according to howstuffworks.com.
The custom of kissing under it came from England. Originally, a berry was picked from the sprig before the person could be kissed. When all the berries had gone, there could be no more kissing.
According to the myth, couples who kiss under the mistletoe will have will have good luck, a happy marriage, and long life. An unmarried woman who is not kissed under it will remain single for another year.
The word “mistletoe” is derived from the Anglo-Saxon words, “mistel” (dung) and “tan” (twig) — misteltan is the Old English version of mistletoe. It literally translates as ‘poo on a stick’! It’s thought that the plant is named after bird droppings on a branch.