Thursday, December 14, 2006

Christmas Mistletoe

Picture of ornamental mistletoe, courtesy of the U.S. Geological SurveyPerhaps some of you have already experienced a sweet holiday smooch or two under the Christmas mistletoe, enjoying this fairly old kissing ritual for people. But mistletoe is important in other vital ways: it provides essential food, cover, and nesting sites for an amazing number of critters in the United States and elsewhere. In fact, says Rob Bennetts, a USGS research scientist,
Picture of wild mistletoe, courtesy of the U.S. Geological Surveysome animals couldn’t even survive without mistletoe, including some birds, butterflies, and insects. Not Just for Kissing: Mistletoe and Birds, Bees, and Other Beasts
The legend of kissing under the mistletoe has it roots in a Scandinavian myth. Legend has it that the Norse God, Baldur was protected from evil by everything that came from the elements of fire, water, air and earth. But an evil spirit formed an arrow from mistletoe and killed him.

The tears of Baldur's mother, Frigga, became the white berries of the mistletoe. His life was restored and Frigga, being the Goddess of Love and Beauty, is said to have kissed anyone passing under the mistletoe. The myth of mistletoe spread throughout the land and even enemies would call a truce when they met underneath it. The Legends of Christmas Holly, Mistletoe and Ivy

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