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Mistletoe

Mistletoe was often hung over the entrances to homes of the pagans in Scandinavian countries to keep out evil spirits. An old Scandinavian myth tells of the seemingly invulnerable god, Balder, who was struck down by a dart made from mistletoe. The tears of this mother, Frigga, became the white berries of the mistletoe, and it was decreed that the plant must never again be used as a weapon.

Frigga, who was the goddess of love, henceforth gave a kiss to anyone who passed under the mistletoe. It may be that our present custom of kissing under the mistletoe derives from this old legend.

Legend holds that the Druids, who were members of a pagan religious order in ancient Gaul, Briton and Ireland, held the mistletoe in such reverence that if enemies met under it in the forest, a truce was declared for the day. It was their belief that only happiness would enter a home when mistletoe hung overt the door.

When the Yule season approached, the mistletoe was cut down from the sacred oaks by the Prince of the Druids who used a golden sickle. The mistletoe was distributed to the people who believed it possessed powers of the protection against sickness and evil. Later among Christians it came to symbolize the healing powers of Christ.

 


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