Evergreen Shrub 

Do you believe that mistletoe carries magical powers and that whoever carries it cannot only see ghosts, but also chat with them? That’s just what many people in different parts of the world believed. For example, as a Welsh proverb says “No mistletoe, no luck”. Farmers thought that if there was plenty of mistletoe to harvest, there would be a fine crop of corn.

In those days people believed that there were mysterious powers in all sorts of plants and animals. Mistletoe, they said, couldn’t be just an ordinary plant: it doesn’t even grow on the grass! Instead, it sits high up in the branches of trees like an extraordinary creature.

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Mistletoe

Today we know that mistletoe is a “parasitic” evergreen shrub and grows on a host tree, getting almost all the food and care it needs without going through too much bother itself. In the United States mistletoe often grows on red maple and elm trees. But long ago, people had no scientific explanation for such an unusual plant.

Magic Powers of Mistletoe

Some said that mistletoe came to the tree in a flash of lightning; others were sure it was the god of vegetation perched on a tree limb. Whatever it was, they all agreed that if you picked a sprig and carried it or wore it around your neck,  you could be sure that many great things would happen.

No doubt about it, mistletoe could put out a fire, raise terrible storms and even bring in the fog. Our ancestors believed that mistletoe would guarantee a safe journey; it could cure dreadful diseases, reduce the pains of old age and made poisons harmless.

To the Druids, the followers of an ancient religion in Europe, both the oak tree and the mistletoe were sacred. If mistletoe was found on an oak, then it must be twice as magical! They called it “all heal” and held a great ceremony at mistletoe-cutting time.

In the middle of the summer the Druids, wearing long white robes, would go deep into forests searching for mistletoe. Then with a splendid golden knife, the “Arch Druid”, the most powerful of all the Druids, would cut it down, being especially careful that it didn’t touch the ground and lose any of its potency. Afterwards mysterious rituals were held among the tall oaks with all the spirits of the forest invited.

Many centuries ago a Scandinavian custom held that should enemies meet under the mistletoe while battling in the forest, they must put down their weapons and make a truce until the next day. That never stopped the fighting completely, but at least now and then there was one day of peace in the forests.

From this began the tradition of hanging mistletoe over a doorway, pledging peace and friendship with everyone who entered the house. They said that unfriendly witches or evil spirits wouldn’t come in to cause mischief and harm.

kissing under mistletoe

Couple nose to nose under mistletoe

Kissing Under the Mistletoe

Mistletoe must still carry strange powers because today we hang it in our homes at Christmas time. Throughout Britain it became popular to kiss beneath of a sprig of this evergreen and it is said that no lady should refuse a kiss under the mistletoe. There is only one condition though: in exchange for a kiss one berry must be removed from the branch. Once all of the berries are gone, no more kisses could be stolen!

It is also said that if a sprig of mistletoe from a local church is placed beneath the pillow of a maiden, she will dream of her future husband.

From: “The Magic of Mistletoe” by Evelyn Retamal.

Fun Time!

1) Finish the sentences about “mistletoe” using information from the text above:
  • Mistletoe is a …
  • Mistletoe often grows on …
  • Mistletoe came to the tree …
  • Mistletoe was a god of …
  • Mistletoe carried or worn around your neck …
  • Mistletoe could …
  • Mistletoe would …
  • Mistletoe on an oak tree must be …
  • Mistletoe cutting time was …
  • Mistletoe became popular throughout Britain ...
2) What other words can you find in the word “mistletoe”?

 For example, toe, mist, let, sit, set, etc.

Music Time! 

Mistletoe

(Justin Bieber) 

It's the most beautiful time of the year:

Lights fill the streets spreading so much cheer.

I should be playing in the winter snow,

But I’mma be under the mistletoe.

I don't want to miss out on the holiday

But I can't stop staring at your face.

I should be playing in the winter snow,

But I'mma be under the mistletoe.

 

With you, shawty, with you,

With you, shawty, with you,

With you under the mistletoe.

 

Everyone's gathering around the fire,

Chestnuts roasting like a hot July.

I should be chillin' with my folks, I know,

But I'mma be under the mistletoe.

Word on the street «Santa's coming tonight!»,

Reindeer's flying in the sky so high.

I should be making a list, I know,

But I'mma be under the mistletoe.

 

With you, shawty, with you,

With you, shawty, with you,

With you under the mistletoe.

 

With you, shawty, with you,

With you, shawty, with you,

With you under the mistletoe.

 

Eh love, the wise men followed the star.

The way I follow my heart,

And it led me to a miracle.

Eh love, don't you buy me nothing.

I am feeling one thing, your lips on my lips.

That's a very, merry Christmas!

 

It's the most beautiful time of the year:

Lights fill the streets spreading so much cheer.

I should be playing in the winter snow,

But I’mma be under the mistletoe.

I don't want to miss out on the holiday

But I can't stop staring at your face.

I should be playing in the winter snow,

But I'mma be under the mistletoe.

 

With you, shawty, with you,

With you, shawty, with you,

With you under the mistletoe.

 

With you, shawty, with you,

With you, shawty, with you,

Shawty, with you under the mistletoe.

 

Kiss me underneath the mistletoe,

Show me, baby, that you love me so-oh-oh,

Oh, oh, ohhh.

Kiss me underneath the mistletoe,

Show me, baby, that you love me so-oh-oh,

Oh, oh, ohhh.

 Find your lover to kiss under the mistletoe! 

 


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