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Christmas Mistletoe – The Magic Is Still On!

Green shrub with small, yellow flowers and white, sticky berries, remind us of Christmas. This is interesting to note how mistletoe got associated with Christmas. One can trace back its origin in the pagan history. Mistletoe was used for ceremonial purposes by the Celtic Druids. They welcomed the winter season and the celebration was considered to be complete without paying a tribute to the healing power of the magical plant. It was the story of Goddess Frigga that led to the concept that the plant has magical powers. The belief goes that no one can be harmed under the mistletoe. Christians took the essence of the restoration of the life and fertility from the popular story.

The folklore customs are very much in favor of mistletoe and so we have almost forgotten that it is a parasite that sucks up the nutrients from the branches of the plants. The mystery sometimes lies in the concept that being parasite mistletoe cooks up its own food through the process of photosynthesis. But early churches banned the use of mistletoe for Christmas because of its pagan origin. The church fathers advised to use holly as a substitute for it during Christmas celebrations.

Now phoradendron flavescens species are used for Christmas celebrations and they can be found in rows from New Jersey to Florida in North America. Mistletoe was a part of Celtic tradition and at that time the hemi parasites on the oak trees were worshiped as they were rare and not the parasites on the apple trees. The Celtic European tradition was transferred to Americans as a Christian custom with the immigration and settlement.

Let's get into the interesting story on how the name "mistletoe" came into existence. The name is a combination of the Anglo-Saxon words "mistel", meaning "dung" and "tan", meaning "twig". Here, mistletoe is "dung-on-a-twig". Mistletoe gives the idea- life can spring from dung. The parasites grow on the dungs ​​of the birds on the branches. Thus mistletoes came to be known as the symbol of life and fertility in the Christian domain of beliefs. They are also taken as the sexual symbol and the soul of the oak trees.

Each country nurtures a different notice about mistletoe and its role in Christmas celebrations. In Middle Age, they were hung from ceilings to drive out the evil spirits. Here they were associated with the revival and restoration of "goodness". Kissing under the mistletoe was a Greek custom. It was a part of the Saturnalia celebration of primitive marriage rites. Scandinavians take them as the icon of peace. So, in every case we are getting Christian connotations either directly or indirectly. This is how mistletoe became a part and parcel of Christmas celebrations.

How can we love a hemi parasite? A hemi parasite can be defined as a parasitic plant which is capable of photosynthesis. The popular example of this can be the mistletoe. But now people are busy in the cultivation of special species of the magical plant to meet the demands of the customers during Christmas phase. One can go for fresh bunches for this Christmas.


Source by Sean Carter

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