Have you ever wondered why we kiss under the mistletoe? The tradition actually dates back to the days of the ancient Celts. In Gaelic, in fact, the parasitic plant we know today as Mistletoe is called Druidhe-lus (‘Druid Weed’), because it was sacred to the Celtic Druids, or Uile-ice (‘All Heal’), because it was believed to have healing powers. Known for its mysterious characteristic of attaching itself to and living off the nutrients and water of its host plant, the ancient Celts associated mistletoe with the world of the gods, and believed it was the keeper of the tree’s soul.
According to Celtic tradition, mistletoe had the power to heal diseases (it does, in fact, have remarkable healing properties), counteract the effects of poison, protect against evil spirits, bring good luck and increase fertility.
The tradition of kissing under the mistletoe could be said to derive from this power to give fertility, but in actual fact it probably comes from an even more curious custom. So sacred was this plant to the Celts, in fact, that whenever enemies met by chance in a place where mistletoe was growing on the trees above their heads, they would actually put aside their weapons and their hostility, greeting each other in temporary friendship and calling a truce until the next day.
Over time this custom was gradually adopted and cultivated by the Celtic people, who would hang mistletoe above the door as a token of good will, friendship and welcome.