Mistletoe traditions

Christmas 1880 – caught under the mistletoe

There are a tremendous number of mistletoe traditions and legends – and these pages can only cover a few aspects.

The best-known tradition is the kissing one; – hanging mistletoe high in a room and kissing loved ones, or complete strangers, beneath it, is hugely popular Christmas custom.

It is a remnant of an ancient fertility tradition, helped along by some re-invention in the 18th and 19th centuries when druidic ideas were reborn, and may originally have been rather a local custom and not a genuine national tradition.

It is curious that it is very ‘British’ – traditionally only practised abroad in English-speaking countries (USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand etc), though becoming popular everywhere in recent decades.

There’s more on the kissing custom, and other mistletoe traditions on these sub-pages:

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