The Fear of the Mistletoe

Did you know you may have mistletoeophobia? What is that? The fear of mistletoe, obviously. Did I just make that up? Yes, that is not a real name, but the fear exists. The fear is oh-so real.

Personally I realized this fear in Middle School. Winter, as a general rule is colder than all of the other seasons(at least in North America that is). So, when a bunch of high schoolers are huddling together like penguins outside of a very heated building, it makes a person wonder. Is this just a high school thing may be one of the thoughts that enter one’s mind. But no, you recognize some familiar faces who you know aren’t usually stupid so you rule out the possibility that it’s the status quo. But then why are these people sacrificing the warmth of the building’s interior? So being brave one embraces the stares as one walks into the building. No on is in the middle and kids are lined up at the sides of the building. Looking up you see what everyone is staring at. The mistletoe. NO ONE WANTS TO BE UNDER IT. Mostly because you never know who might be sneaking up behind you and be like, “HEY! Mistletoe!”.

What type of plant gives people the right to invade your personal space? Well, it goes back all the way in history. The Greeks used the mistletoe plant as medicine. But even before that, it mostly likely started with Celtic Druids of the 1st century (A.D). Because of the mistletoe’s always blossoming nature, the Druids viewed it as a sacred symbol. Norse Mythology also viewed the mistletoe as something special. When one of the Norse goddesses, Frigg, made the mistletoe a symbol of love and promised to kiss anyone who went under it. The kissing under the mistleole tradition continued in the Middle Ages and by the 1700s the tradition was incorporated into Christmas. One tradition I haven’t heard about is that you were allowed to kiss the person under the mistletoe and you would have to pick a berry. Once all the berries were gone you were not allowed to kiss the person under the mistletoe any more.

Kissing under the mistletoe is a tradition. But is it really appropriate for a school to put a mistletoe up and make a lot of people with mistletoeophobia very uncomfortable? That is a question still up for debate.

Want to know more about the history of mistletoe?: