Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Oh by gosh, by golly, it's time for mistletoe and holly ...
Here it is, December 16, and I've reached the halfway mark for my NaBloPoMo challenge. Woo-Hoo! Yippee!! Way to go! I'm having fun coming up with ideas for my daily blog posts. It's been relatively easy because it's such an exciting time of year. There's so much going on everywhere.
Not to brag, BUT - I've got all of my Christmas decorating done, the cards have been mailed, my presents are wrapped ... all I have left to do is hang the mistletoe. Actually, I'll have Tom hang it since it needs to go up a little higher than I can reach and I seem to be getting shorter every year.
Kissing under the mistletoe has long been a part of our Christmas tradition (What can I say? We're a friendly group over here!). But just what is mistletoe and how did it's association with Christmas evolve? Mistletoe is especially interesting botanically because it is a partial parasite (a "hemiparasite"). As a parasitic plant, it grows on the branches or trunk of a tree and actually sends out roots that penetrate into the tree and take up nutrients. But mistletoe is also capable of growing on its own; like other plants it can produce its own food by photosynthesis. Mistletoe, however, is more commonly found growing as a parasitic plant. From the earliest times mistletoe has been one of the most magical, mysterious, and sacred plants of European folklore. It was considered a bestower of life and fertility; a protectant against poison; and an aphrodisiac. Kissing under the mistletoe is first found associated with the Greek festival of Saturnalia and later with primitive marriage rites. Mistletoe was believed to have the power of bestowing fertility. For those who wish to observe the correct etiquette: a man should pluck a berry when he kisses a woman under the mistletoe, and when the last berry is gone, there should be no more kissing!
I found fake mistletoe years ago and have hung it every year since then in a place of honor by the front door. Real mistletoe doesn't last long here in Minnesota in December!