Mistletoe is one of the most famous symbols of Christmas and also the most recognizable; it is one of the most sacred and magical plants in Christian folklore. The sprigs of this plant are extensively used in Christmas decorations and it is also believed that the plant can protect the house from lightening and fire. This is why many people also leave the sprigs all the year round. There is also a traditional belief that mistletoe is a plant of peace and that a kiss under this plant ensures undying love and friendship. The belief that no lady standing under decorated mistletoe can refuse to be kissed, is obviously a major attraction for young men. And a kiss under mistletoe is often interpreted as a proposal of marriage. Though most of these beliefs and superstitions are of pagan significance, they are still prevalent in all their glory; the legend of mistletoe being a widely celebrated one.
The mystical power of mistletoe, and the tradition of kissing under this plant, owes its origin to the legend of Goddess Frigga and her son Balder. Frigga was the Goddess of Love and her son, Balder, was the God of the Summer Sun. Once, Balder dreamt of his death. He was obviously worried and told his mother about the strange dream. Frigga was worried not only for the life of her son but also for the life on Earth because she knew that without Balder, all life on Earth would come to an end. Thus, she did her utmost to avoid such a mishap by going everywhere and appealing to every being in air, water, fire and earth, to promise her that they would never harm her son. She was promised the safety of her son by every animal and plant under and above the Earth.
However, Loki, the God of Evil, who was an enemy of Balder and always had evil designs in his mind, was aware that there was one plant that Frigga had overlooked. It grew on apple and oak trees and was known as Mistletoe. Thus, Loki made an arrow and placed a sprig of this plant at its tip. He then beguiled Hoder, the blind brother of Balder and the God of Winter, and made him shoot this arrow at Balder. Balder immediately died and everybody was worried as the Earth turned cold and life became dreary. For the next three days, every creature tried to bring Balder back to life but he was revived only by Frigga and with the help of mistletoe. Her tears on the plant became pearly white berries and she blessed it such that anyone who stands under the mistletoe would never be harmed and would be entitled to a kiss as a token of love.
Mistletoe is an important Christmas plant valued more for its legendary magic than anything else. Read the legend of mistletoe to learn more of its significance.