Friday, 27 December 2013

Christmas Kisses under the Mistletoe

This afternoon, I watched a Christmas film with my Grandson. Snuggled on the sofa with him, leaning against me, one eye on the sunset and the other on the film. It was wonderful. The film was about Father Christmas, preparing his sleigh and delivering the gifts all over the world. Through his eyes, I relived all the wonder of that special, magical night.

How quickly Christmas passes. All the preparation, all the expectation, all the fun of family and friends, and now it's over.

So I 'd just like to pause awhile, think about Christmas, and write one more Christmas post.

Some friends gave us a lovely, big bunch of real mistletoe to hang above the kitchen door. I've always liked the tradition of kissing under the mistletoe. It always seemed innocently exciting, to find yourself under it when a boy was near, "Don't kiss under the mistletoe, with any one else but me tra la la".

It's another Christmas tradition from Victorian times. Each time a gallant beau captured a shy maiden beneath the mistletoe, he claimed a kiss. The act was recorded by the removal of a berry. When the branches were bare, the kissing had to stop.

'Pick a berry off the mistletoe             
For ev'ry kiss that's given.
When the berries have all gone,
There's an end to kissing.'
(Traditional rhyme)

Again, according to the Victorians, the giving of a sprig of mistletoe signified the surmounting of all difficulties, and the overcoming of all obstacles. Its symbolism extends way back to the time of the Druids, the priests or soothsayers from the ancient Celtic religion.

The Holly is probably the most symbolic of evergreens and has long been used to signify eternal life.
In ancient times it was thought to be a deterrent to witches and, as such, considered a sign of good luck.

Ivy, in the Victorian language of flowers, was thought to signify friendship, fidelity and marriage. Like holly, ivy was considered a symbol of good luck, and if it grew up the walls of a house, to protect the occupants from harm.

'The holly and the ivy,
When they are both full grown,
Of all the trees that are in the wood,
The holly bears the crown.'

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