Hanging a sprig of mistletoe in the doorway goes back to the Druids, who called the herb “all-heal” and considered it sacred. At the winter solstice, mistletoe (Viscum album) was cut from the sacred oak with a ritual knife and caught in a white cloth so that it did not touch the ground. Hung in a doorway, it protected the home from evil spirits during the darkest time of the year and created a sanctuary where a kiss of peace could be exchanged.
In Victorian times, every kiss required the plucking of a white berry. When the berries were gone, lovers were out of luck.
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