Our Garden of Everyday No. 12: Mistletoe


December is here… when this year has gone?  This is the black friday/cyber monday weekend and the shops are all decorated with Christmas. Around us, plants are a getting to sleep and the trees are revealing their branches and beautiful silhouettes.  Amongst the branches green globes are suspended with the magic of the mistletoe.  Indeed, this is one of those plants associated to a number of myths and legends that were appropriated by Christian celebrations. In Greek mythology the viscum album is believed to be “The Golden Bough” referring to the adventures of the Trojan hero Aeneas after the Trojan War. One of Aeneas quests concerns his journey to Hades, but he is advised by Deiphobe to get the bough of gold and give it to Prosperina, the queen of Pluto, king of the underworld.  Mistletoe is commonly used as a Christmas decoration in North America and England specially in Candlemas. It may remain hanging throughout the year, often to preserve the house from lightning or fire, until it is replaced the following Christmas Eve. According to an old Christmas custom, a man and a woman who meet under a hanging of mistletoe were obliged to kiss. The custom may be of Scandinavian origin but it is a good excuse for some merry during this time of the year.