Wednesday, 2 December 2015

The Twelve Words of Christmas - Merry Mistletoe by Emma Davies

Merry Mistletoe!
by Emma Davies

When I first began to think about writing a Christmas novella, mistletoe was one of the first things that popped into my head, it’s such a traditional part of Christmas now, and how much more romantic can you get than finally meeting the man of your dreams underneath a bunch, ready to move in for that kiss that you’ve been waiting for all year?.... But why do we kiss under the mistletoe?
Well according to Norse legend, Frigga the goddess of love and beauty loved her son Balder so much that she secured a promise from everything living on, or growing in the ground not to harm him. But an evil spirit, Loki, realised that Mistletoe was the one thing that did neither of these things, growing as it does on host trees. He made an arrow from the mistletoe and fired it through Balder’s heart, killing him instantly. It is said that Frigga’s tears made the mistletoe berries. In some versions of this story, Balder is restored to life and Frigga is so grateful that she reverses the reputation of the mistletoe, making it a symbol of love and promising to bestow a kiss upon anyone who passes under it.
If you were an Anglo Saxon, kissing under the mistletoe was connected to the legend of Freya, goddess of love, beauty and fertility. According to legend, a man had to kiss any young girl who, without realizing it, found herself accidentally under a sprig of mistletoe hanging from the ceiling.
Mistletoe is also reputed to be a magical healing plant according to the Druids, who called it Allheal and considered it very sacred, believing it had miraculous properties which could cure illnesses, serve as an antidote against poisons, ensure fertility and protect against the ill effects of witchcraft. Even now there is a custom of bringing mistletoe inside the house at Christmas to protect everyone inside. There are however two schools of thought. One says that the mistletoe must be burnt on twelfth night and the other says that it should remain in the house all year until fresh mistletoe is brought in the following year.
If you’ve read Merry Mistletoe you may have already spotted one or two of these legends and customs at work, but did you also spot that the countdown throughout the book is not to Christmas Day but to Mistletoe Day which according to folklore is the 23rd December. Well as Amos quite rightly says It’s magical stuff mistletoe, but then I expect you knew that.
Emma on Twitter: @Emdavies68
Merry Mistletoe: Amazon UK

No comments:

Post a Comment