For those of you who need a little mistletoe for Christmas kissing, here is a photo. I haven’t seen any of the real stuff for sale though its all over the oaks up here.
I simply didn’t understand why a poisonous parasite is supposed to encourage kissing. So I did a bit of research.
The actual word mistel means dung (not actually a word I usually connect with smooching.) Though the plant causes diarrhea if eaten, the reason its name is derived from excrement is because birds eat the berries and defecate the seeds. (Uh, are you getting a warm snuggly feeling? Cause I’m still not.)
But there is more. Because of the resemblance of the sticky white berry juice to certain…er…excretions on the part of males, the plant is associated with fertility and is considered an aphrodisiac. Thus, the tradition of passion under the plant which leads to luck in relationships.
Most people are unaware that the magic only works if the man plucks one berry off for every kiss he exchanges with a woman. When all the berries are gone, so is the plant’s potency.
I gather the man kisses the woman, crushes the berry, and winks as if to say, “Hey baby, want to see more of this stuff.” And the woman is so overcome by his virility and suavity that she succumbs to more than his lips. Then they have such great uh… excretions that their partnership is blessed.