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(471) word : mistletoe [英単語]

Word: Mistletoe

mistletoe matsuyama3.jpg
pic. mistletoe matsuyama3

Word: mistletoe [mísltòʊ|‐t`əʊ]

1. Noun. Any of several parasitic evergreen plants with white berries that grow in the crowns of oaks, apple trees and other trees. 

2. Noun. A sprig of these plants used as a Christmas decoration.

parasitic: Drawing upon another organism for sustenance.
crowns: The upper branches and leaves of a tree or other plant.


mistletoe1.jpg
Pic. mistletoe1

It is traditional to kiss under the mistletoe.

This tradition comes from a Norse legend.

mistletoe kiss.jpg
pic. mistletoe kiss

What is the story behind it?

Mistletoe’s mystical properties stem back from the Celts and Norse people who believed there was something mystical about it as it stayed green in winter even when the tree has
lost its leaves.
Celts: A member of a European people who once occupied Britain and Spain and Gaul prior to Roman times.
Norse: An inhabitant of Scandinavia.

mistletoe matsuyama2.jpg
Pic. Mistletoe matsuyama2

It was also believed to bring luck in Medieval times.

One Norse tale explains its links to romance and love (and kissing).

Balder, son of the goddess Frigga, was killed by an evil spirit with an arrow made of mistletoe.

mistletoe2.jpg
Mistletoe2

Frigga was so distraught that her tears turned to white berries, coating the plant and symbolizing her love for him.
Frigga was so overjoyed that she blessed the plant and promised a kiss to all who passed beneath it from that day onwards.

This turned into a tradition in ancient times when visitors would kiss the hand of a host under the mistletoe when they arrived as a way of honouring the Norse legend.

distraught: Deeply agitated especially from emotion. 

Since then, the tradition has evolved to the custom we all know.
In England, the custom of kissing under the mistletoe is referred to in late 18th century England.
mistletoe matsuyama4.jpg
pic. mistletoe matsuyama4
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