Kissing Under The Mistletoe History

The history of kissing under the mistletoe and the customs, traditions and superstitions of why we kiss under the mistletoe at Christmas:

At Christmas time it is traditional to hang a sprig of mistletoe under a door or at the entrance to a house.

kissing under the mistletoe

Customs About Mistletoe

This custom of kissing under the mistletoe is steeped in history stretching back Centuries:

The ancient druids and the Greeks believed that the mistletoe plant had magical and miraculous properties and considered it to be sacred. The druids thought it aided fertility by acting as an aphrodisiac, could cure many illnesses and act as an antidote to poisons and would ward off witches and their spells. Any enemies who met by mistletoe would have to declare a truce and lay down their weapons for the day. The druids also saw the mistletoe as a sexual symbol.

During Anglo Saxon times men or boys could kiss girls and women as they passed under the mistletoe hung in doorways. They considered the mistletoe lucky because it was the favourite plant of Freya who was a Goddess of love, fertility and beauty. For years it was considered a sign as a promise to marry. It was also seen as bringing luck, good health and a long life. They still hung the mistletoe as a way of warding off evil spirits.


Form these signs of peace, goodwill and health came the custom of hanging mistletoe balls and sprigs from the ceiling or doorframe. Kisses would be exchanged as a sign of friendship. Traditionally a berry from the plants should be plucked with each kiss. When there are no more berries on the mistletoe plant then the kissing should stop.

Mistletoe gets its name from the old English words mistel tan which means sticky twig.

Mistletoe Superstitions

Though kissing under the mistletoe is supposed to bring good luck superstition has it that if someone refuses to kiss under the plant they will suffer bad luck.

sprig mistletoe

Some consider it bad luck to remove the mistletoe from the house until it is replaced with a fresh sprig the following year.

An unmarried woman or girl could put a sprig of mistletoe under the pillow before they go to sleep to dream about their future husband. They could also burn the old mistletoe to predict their marriage prospects - if the flame burned steadily then they would have a happy married life. A flame that spluttered and was unsteady would predict an unhappy marriage with a cross bad tempered spouse.

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In England and other parts of the UK mistletoe is burned on the twelfth night of Christmas otherwise superstition says the young people who kissed under it will never marry.

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