How Did Mistletoe Get its Name, What Does it Mean, and Why Do We Kiss Under the Mistletoe During Christmas?

Two centuries before Christ’s birth, the Druids celebrated the winter solstice with mistletoe because it enhanced fertility and was a favorite of the gods.

mistletoe plant in the wild

The Romans hung it prominently during orgies, which is how it became associated with kissing and also why the church banned it in the fourth century.

The name mistletoe is from the Germanic word “mista”, meaning “manure” or “dung,” because the plant grows out of oak trees well-fertilized by bird droppings.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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