Mistletoe Kisses

Mistletoe Kisses –  Suspended Opportunism

Kissing under the mistletoe at Christmas is a well-known and beloved custom. All who pass beneath the hanging spray, whether inadvertently or on purpose incurs the penalty of being kissed by whomsoever chooses to avail them of the privilege.

Historically, mistletoe was believed to promote fertility, its leaves said to have aphrodisiac properties. Once a part of the marriage ceremony it was placed under couples’ beds for good luck. English tradition has it that a berry was plucked from the spray with every kiss, and when depleted of berries no more kisses could be granted.

A relic custom since the days of Druidism, the origins are believed to lie in the Norse myth of Balder, a god associated with beauty and light, who was killed by a mistletoe arrow shot by his blind brother. However, it was not the brother but Loki, the god of mischief who as supplier of the arrow was blamed. The weapon was given to the safekeeping of Balder’s mother who decreed that the mistletoe arrow could never again cause harm unless it touched the ground — which is why we suspend mistletoe from the ceiling.

The Difference[1]

My brother is stiff  – I am not stiff at all;

So when there’s mistletoe hung in our hall

He manages always to miss all the kisses

While I on the contrary kiss all the misses


[1] C. C. Bombaugh A. M. M. D. The Literature of Kissing J. B. Lippincott & Co 1876 p362

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