During this period, people would stand under mistletoe trying to reconcile after an argument.
So where does Christmas come into play? Dickens, of course. It's not entirely clear how or when mistletoe first got pulled into all of the Christmas festivities, but its earliest mention seems to come from the work of Charles Dickens and Washington Irving in the days of Victorian England.
Under the Mistletoe (Glover, Charles William)
Dickens makes mention of kissing under the mistletoe in The Pickwick Papers and Irving's Christmas Eve provided a bit more detail. People of the time decorated their homes with kissing balls AKA kissing boughs , which were made from trimmed evergreen, ribbon, ornaments, and of course mistletoe. The rule was that if a young woman was caught standing under one of these balls, she couldn't refuse a kiss or else she wouldn't get married the following year.
- Under the Mistletoe - Wikipedia.
- Why do we kiss under the mistletoe? - CBBC Newsround?
- Mistletoe -- Christmas Customs and Traditions -- whychristmas?com.
It was also customary that a berry was plucked from the ball with each kiss that occurred underneath it. Mistletoe may not be as big of a presence in Christmas decor these days it is poisonous after all , but its rich history makes it far more interesting than a dancing Santa doll.
Why do we kiss under the mistletoe? - HISTORY
But at Christmas, it becomes a symbol of romance. So where did the tradition of kissing beneath the mistletoe come from?
By the 18th century, stealing a kiss beneath the mistletoe became a common practice among British servants and the tradition spread from there. After the kiss, the couple is to pluck one of the berries from the plant.
Meeting under mistletoe in the 21st century
Once all the berries are gone, the bough no longer has the power to command kisses. So if you hang a bough of mistletoe this year, make sure it has plenty of berries on it.
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Baking up a batch of gingerbread cookies is a surefire way to fill a house with the smells of Christmas. When the first Christians came to Western Europe, some tried to ban the use of Mistletoe as a decoration in Churches, but many still continued to use it!
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York Minster Church in the UK used to hold a special Mistletoe Service in the winter, where wrong doers in the city of York could come and be pardoned. The custom of kissing under Mistletoe comes from England.
The original custom was that a berry was picked from the sprig of Mistletoe before the person could be kissed and when all the berries had gone, there could be no more kissing!