I’ve heard of kissing under the mistletoe, and even knew that there were berries involved somewhere, but I’d never heard of a “kissing bough.”The author of the most recent release in the Cotillion Christmas series has, however, and she’s written a post to explain the tradition.
In the 15th century, it became the custom to create a hoop or sphere woven from ash, willow or hazel (flexible woods that could be manipulated) and place small figures of the Christ child or the Holy Family and hang it above the inside entrance of the home. These were blessed by priests and any callers embraced under the Holy Bough to show their goodwill.
Over the decades, families would vie with each other to decorate their Bough with ribbons, gilded nuts and small apples.
The holy figures disappeared during the Reformation (due to Puritan laws and fear of fines), and were replaced by evergreens.
One tradition is that one plucks a berry from the mistletoe each time one claims a kiss, and after all the berries are gone, the game is over.
The Church tended to disapprove of things like kissing boughs and kissing under the mistletoe, no doubt because there are indications that the tradition originated with the Druids, but the tradition still continues today.
Susana credits the Christmas Archives with information for her post (http://www.christmasarchives.com/england.html) (More about mistletoe in a future post!)
Her story, Twelfth Night Tale, is the seventh in the series of Cotillion Traditional Regency romance Christmas stories for this year. The theme of this year’s series is Christmas Traditions (hence my blog posts exploring different traditions of the season) and so many authors submitted stories this year that the publisher decided to release two separate print anthologies. Twelfth Night Tale is part of the Cotillion Christmas Celebrations Collection, which was just released.
Like of the Cotillion Christmas stories, Twelfth Night Tale is available as a single story or as part of a print collection.
More traditions coming soon!