Image Size: 21-1/8 x 11-5/8 ins.
Mistletoe is relevant to several cultures. It is associated with Christmas as a decoration, under which lovers are expected to kiss. Mistletoe played an important role in Druidic mythology in the Ritual of Oak and Mistletoe.
In Norse Mythology, Loki tricked the blind god Hodur into murdering Baler with an arrow made of Mistletoe, being the only plant to which Balder was vulnerable. Some versions of the story have mistletoe becoming a symbol of peace and friendship to compensate for its part in the murder.
Mistletoe continued to be associated with fertility and vitality through the Middle Ages, and by the 18th century it had also become incorporated into Christmas celebrations around the world. The custom of kissing under the mistletoe is referred to as popular among servants in late 18th century England: the serving class of Victorian England is credited with perpetuating the tradition. The tradition dictated that a man was allowed to kiss any woman standing underneath mistletoe, and that bad luck would befall any woman who refused the kiss. One variation on the tradition stated that with each kiss a berry was to be plucked from the mistletoe, and the kissing must stop after all the berries had been removed.