Events  A kiss under the mistletoe
31/12/201400:00 TV5MONDE

The tradition of kissing under the Mistletoe: 

Mistletoe is one of the four plants adopted by Christians and used for celebrating Christmas, as its evergreen leaves symbolize immortal life, fertility, long life, good luck, health and a good harvest on the months to come. 
Mistletoe is actually a parasitic plant that grows up mostly on apple and oak trees. It gives white berries that have medicinal virtues such as a cure for headaches and toothaches, despite being poisonous if taken in large quantities! In the Celtic culture, druids, who believed in its magical powers against the evil venerated mistletoe.


Why do French people kiss under mistletoe on New Year?


Here is the legend of this tradition…
The Norse (ancient Scandinavian) used to take mistletoe as a sacred plant of Freyja. She was the goddess of Love and the mother of Balder, the God of the Summer Sun.
One day, her sun Balder dreamt of his death. Freyja was so worried that she made a pact with the 4 elements: air, water, earth and with all animals and plants. However, she forgot to write down one thing on her list: the mistletoe, as it grew neither on earth nor under the earth but on apple and oak trees.
Loki, the God of Evil took advantage of her mistake and made an arrow tip out of the wood of the mistletoe. He gave the arrow tip to Hoder, the blind God of Winter, who killed Balder… For 3 days after his death, every living thing on earth and heaven tried to bring the dead God of the Summer Sun back to life. Eventually, Freyja was the one who made Balder come back to life. She was desperate and her tears turned into white little berries as they dropped on the mistletoe. This was a symbol of rebirth and the Goddess was so happy that she kissed everyone who would stand under the tree where the mistletoe grew.


Later on, the Christians adopted this tradition. They believed a couple that exchanged a kiss under the mistletoe would be united by an eternal love. Many French people like this tradition, but might not know the origin.

In France, kissing under the mistletoe was reserved for New Year's Day. It was called 'Au gui l'An neuf' which literally means 'Mistletoe for the New Year'.

So don't forget to grab a bunch of mistletoe for your New Year's party :-) 


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