History: Holiday Kissing Ball

A simple sprig of decorative mistletoe is a familiar prompt for a holiday kiss, but you can make your foyer extraordinary with a traditional kissing ball.

| December/January 2010



A simple sprig of decorative mistletoe is a familiar prompt for a holiday kiss, but you can make your foyer extraordinary with a traditional kissing ball.

Originally, during England’s Middle Ages, “holy boughs”—made from interlocking evergreen branches and supporting figurines of baby Jesus or the holy family—graced passages. Throughout the holiday season, the holy bough hung from entryways as an omen of goodwill for embracing visitors.

After a period of unpopularity, thanks to the Puritans, Victorians brought the holy bough back from obscurity, refurbished with a new look and a new name. It now became an elaborately decorated apple or potato replete with herbs and foliage. The herbs on each “kissing ball” were not only chosen for their beauty, but also for their symbolic value. Lavender and rosemary signified loyalty and devotion, while thyme promoted courage. Mistletoe was a popular decorative choice symbolizing good fortune and fertility.

The kissing ball began to emphasize romance, rather than mere good will. Dancers waltzed under the kissing ball laced with mistletoe for a peck, and single women stood in wait for potential suitors. Eventually, sprigs of mistletoe superseded all other greenery and became the enduring symbol of holiday affection that we know today.



For our online exclusive instructions on how to make your own holiday kissing ball see DIY Victorian Kissing Ball.



Subscribe today and save 58%

Get the latest on Healthy Living and Natural Beauty!

Mother Earth LivingRedefine beauty and embrace holistic living with Mother Earth Living by your side. Each issue  provides you with easy, hands-on ways to connect your life with the natural world -- from eating seasonally to culinary and medicinal uses of herbs; from aromatherapy and DIY cosmetics to yoga and beyond. Start your journey to holistic living today and you’ll discover all the best and latest information you want on choosing natural remedies and practicing preventive medicine; cooking with a nutritious and whole-food focus; creating a nontoxic home; and gardening for food, wellness and enjoyment. Subscribe to Mother Earth Living today to get inspired on the art of living wisely and living well.

Save Money & a Few Trees!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. You’ll save an additional $5 and get six issues of Mother Earth Living for just $19.95! (Offer valid only in the U.S.)

Or, choose Bill Me and pay just $24.95.




Facebook Pinterest Instagram YouTube Twitter

Classifieds