Hello, dear readers! I hope all of you who celebrate enjoyed a very Happy Christmas! Mr. Bingley and I had a lovely holiday break so far – lots of time together, and we enjoyed spending the whole of yesterday with my family! Here is a little after-Christmas treat for you – a lovely guest post from Victoria Kincaid!! I absolutely adored Ms. Kincaid’s Christmas novella A Very Darcy Christmas last year. I can’t wait to read her newest release – Christmas at Darcy House. Victoria is here to share a little about the tradition of mistletoe and an excerpt from Christmas at Darcy House!!
Thank you for hosting me, Meredith! Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to you and all your readers.
While some Regency Christmas traditions are familiar to us, many of them are not ones we practice today. Few people try to keep a Yule log burning all night, for example. However, one tradition that has survived is mistletoe, although today’s version is likely to be artificial.
The practice of gathering mistletoe began in the second century BC in ancient Britain, when the Druids saw it as a symbol of good fortune and fertility. But mistletoe did not come to be associated with kissing until the 18th century. Balls of mistletoe, tied with ribbon, would be hung in doorways and from ceilings. An unmarried woman could not refuse a kiss if she was underneath the mistletoe.
With every kiss, a man would pluck one of the mistletoe berries, and when there were no more berries, the ball was retired for the year. The superstition was that women who were never kissed could not expect to get married in the coming year. Mistletoe was not readily available in every part of England, so people would frequently send it to relatives or friends in parts of the country where it did not grow.