With all that has been happening this year, I think everyone can use a little holiday cheer. If you’re interested in what it’s like to experience Christmas in the bayou (a.k.a., Louisiana) or missed my last week’s post, check out Papa Noël: Who Dat? Find out if you’re on the naughty or nice list and meet the gators.
Over my many years and dozens of Christmas parties, I’ve seen (and participated in) countless traditions. However, the one that I’ve heard and read about the most is one that I have never seen in practice—that is, kissing under the mistletoe. A couple of years ago was the first time I saw mistletoe in person. Well, kinda. See, I’d seen it before, but I didn’t know what it was. Turns out, there was plenty that I did not know about mistletoe. This was brought to the forefront when I began writing my short story “Valentine Mistletoe“ (published In Holiday Heartbreaker’s Cupid’s Bow Anthology), which is a holiday story with a twist. Since this is the season, I thought it would be fun to post some mistletoe trivia facts, and there’s no better place to start than the beginning…
- The name “mistletoe” originates from the combination of two Anglo Saxon words—mistle and tan. The word mistle means a stick or a twig, while the word tan means—hold onto your socks—dung. That’s correct. Dung, as in poop, manure, excrement, caca. So, literally, mistletoe means poop on a stick. Now, that image doesn’t make me feel all warm and romantic, much less like kissing. Let’s move on, although, what I have to say next isn’t that much better.
- Mistletoe is a flowering (or angiosperm) and parasitic plant. It is unable to live on its own and requires attaching itself, via a haustorium, to a host tree or shrub to feed off (extract carbon, nutrients, and water) in order for survival. For this reason, it does not grow on the ground and cannot be grown in a planter. Technically speaking, mistletoe can attach itself to any tree, however, it most commonly grows on apple, oak, and willow trees. I guess, one could say mistletoe has a preference.
- Being parasitic makes mistletoe highly resilient because it does not have to compete with other rooted plants in soil for water or other necessary nutrients. This is also an adaptive quality, as mistletoe originated in the tropics, a place where, in general, the soil is filled with microorganisms but is poor in nutrition. Additionally, few birds eat mistletoe due to the color of the berries. Actually, most animals shy away from eating the berries as they can be poisonous in large amounts.
- More than 1,500 species of mistletoe exist. However, what most people are likely familiar with is the European mistletoe known as Viscum album.
- Another fact about mistletoe is that it has a gender. Yes, there are male and female mistletoes. Female mistletoe is what most people hang in their homes, as this is the one that has berries. Now, if I was less of a person and really tacky, I would point out the irony that the female mistletoe has balls and the male mistletoe does not. 🙂
- Finally, mistletoe won’t kickstart the allergies since it has no discernible scent. I know, someone is going to tell me they know someone who is allergic to it—you know, because there always is that one person. Actually, that probably would make for a comedic scene breaking into a fit of sneezing beneath the mistletoe instead of becoming all starry-eyed or transforming into a blithering ball of awkwardness…
So, why would anyone from a kissing tradition under parasitic, poisonous poop on a stick?
Well… The tradition appears to have started in the 1700s and became popular in Europe during the Victorian era. Some believe that hanging mistletoe will bring them good fortune while others believe it wards away evils. Some theories state that the tradition stemmed from Norse mythology that indicated mistletoe to be a symbol of friendship and/or love. However, perhaps the most popular theory is that mistletoe represents a sign of life and fertility. This is connected with the observation that mistletoe growing in oak trees would maintain its leaves during autumn when the oak trees defoliated. Further, when the mistletoe is cut, it turns a lovely golden color. People came to believe that due to the mistletoe retaining its color under these conditions it must be a sign of vivacity, fruitfulness, and abundance. And of course, the natural progression from there was to kiss under it.
Look, I don’t know how it went from a tree to smooching beneath it, but it’s a cool tradition and one that has hung around for hundreds of years. Well, that’s all I have. So, did you learn anything new? Do you hang mistletoe in your home during the holidays? Have you ever been caught under the mistletoe and had to kiss someone? If so, how did it go?
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Taz has problems: a stalled career, a coach threatening to destroy him, a meddling matchmaking roommate, and a thing for his other roommate’s boyfriend. The first three are manageable, but the last… well, that’s complicated. Because as much as Taz is attempting not to notice Liam, Liam is noticing him. Grab your copy of Ice Gladiators at https://amzn.to/2TGFsyD or www.books2read.com/icegladiators.
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Defending the Net can be ordered at www.books2read.com/defending. Crossing the line could cost the game.
Locker Room Love is a steamy standalone gay romance/ MM romance series revolving around professional hockey players. Set primarily in the Cajun and Creole bayous of south Louisiana, these love stories have a diverse cast of characters. These sexy athletes are discovering their own voice and the best romance of their lives, even if that isn’t their intention. Find tales of friends to lovers, enemies to loves, billionaires, bad boys, forbidden romance, first times, gay for you, and more. These alpha males are guaranteed to work up a sweat and melt the ice.
For more of my stories, shenanigans, giveaways, and more, check out my blog, Creole Bayou, www.genevivechambleeconnect.wordpress.com. New posts are made on Wednesdays (with bonus posts sometimes on Mondays), and everything is raw and unscathed. Climb on in a pirogue and join me on the bayou.
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Until next time, happy reading and much romance. Keep safe.
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Until next time, happy reading and much romance. Keep safe.