Thank the Druids for Mistletoe Kisses

Mistletoe has long been considered a magical plant
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 23, 2010 8:43 AM CST
Updated Dec 25, 2010 10:25 AM CST
The ancients believed mistletoe to have magical powers   (Flickr)

(Newser) – Thank the ancient Druids for finding the magic in mistletoe, the plant that inspires Christmas kisses, writes Christopher Beam in Slate's Explainer column. Mistletoe has long been believed to have magical powers: For the ancient Druids, mistletoe could make barren animals fertile again. In Norse mythology, Loki used a spear made of mistletoe to slay Baldur the Brave.

By the 18th or 19th century, mistletoe was firmly a part of Christmas lore, mentioned in stories by Washington Irving and Charles Dickens. But back then, kissing under mistletoe was supposed to bring good luck to the kisser. And with each kiss, you would pluck off one berry until the mistletoe was bare. Even these days, some people believe in mistletoe's powers—actress Suzanne Somers famously chose to treat her breast cancer with mistletoe instead of chemotherapy.

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