Ho, Ho, the Mistletoe, More Information on Christmas Traditions

Mark Gordon Brown By Mark Gordon Brown, 7th Dec 2012 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Culture>Holidays & Celebrations

Have you ever wondered why Santa's laugh is "Ho, ho, ho", or why we kiss under the Mistletoe?

Ho, ho, ho

Well to be honest there is very little evidence on this one but many claims are made that Santa's familiar laugh, "Ho, ho, ho" is actually pagan in origin.

The claim is that "Ho Saturnalia" was the greeting at this time of the year for the holiday that fell on December 25 and was known as Saturnalia. This predates Christmas and was a holiday to celebrate the sun returning to the sky. Ho Saturnalia translates to "All Hail Saturn" or praise for the sun God and was a greeting between people, much like "Merry Christmas" is today.

Why do we Kiss Under the Mistletoe?

Mistletoe is a parasitic plant that grows high in the trees. At one time people thought it had magical properties since it grew and lived without roots to the ground. Since it would seem to grow out of nothing they connected it with having properties of fertility.

As such bringing Mistletoe into the homes as part of the winter celebrations (when it has white berries - said to look like semen) and kissing under it, became a fertility ritual of the winter. Apparently Mistletoe from oat trees is even more "magical".

In case you are wondering how Mistletoe gets in the trees in the first place it is because the seeds are sticky and when birds poop them out they stick to the birds bum, so the bird wipes its behind on the tree branches, thus giving the Mistletoe a place to grow.

Other Reading

Origins of Christmas Traditions

Why We Kiss Under Mistletoe

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Christmas, Kiss, Mistletoe, Origin, Santa, Say, Traditions, Under, Why

Meet the author

author avatar Mark Gordon Brown
Raised in Michigan, I have a son who recently joined the Military. I am living in Canada with my wife where we have a hobby farm.

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author avatar irenen1
7th Dec 2012 (#)

The picture of mistletoe looks like a kissing ball.

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author avatar vpaulose
7th Dec 2012 (#)

Very nice, dear Guruji Mark.

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author avatar cnwriter..carolina
7th Dec 2012 (#)

I like this Mark...thank you!

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author avatar Zeldash
8th Dec 2012 (#)

Mystery solved at last.

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author avatar Christine Crowley
10th Dec 2012 (#)

I've never seen mistletoe in the wild. Very interesting!

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author avatar PSRemeshChandra
11th Dec 2012 (#)

Each year when Christmas comes, I hold a film festival in my private abode during the nights. There would be two films shown each day. There would be only me to see. It is a very private affair. The Ten Commandments and Jesus Of Nazareth are for the first day, and so on. After seeing such films for five days, my mind is reluctant to look into The Last Temptation of Christ. Though I have it as C.D, I have not yet seen it. I am also reluctant to see Benhur for other reasons which also I have. This is my kind of Christmas. On the last day I sing William Blake’s The Night alone to myself, in my own tune, savouring those sweet imageries, sweet to me. It is my balm, washing away the haunting experience of going through the pain of that lone person, making the heavy cross for hanging himself taking hours, carrying the thing to the gallows, beaten all the way, and painfully crucified for delivering the message of god’s love for his children. I often have wondered what thoughts might have been passing through that mind on the way to the mountain. The more I think about his plight, the more am I convinced how little have I repaid by debt to him. Being not born a Christian, his is the greatest influence that has been there on my poor life, lovely, ardent and caring. Each year, my beloved blood brother Jasy San Mose from the north eastern tip of India sends me a post card, with the picture of Mary holding her child on her lap, reminding me that it was the lovely child of an affectionate mother that the world crucified. Thank you dear Mark Gordon Brown, for this reminding good article of yours.

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author avatar writestuff
12th Dec 2012 (#)

Interesting and informative read.

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author avatar Andres Fragoso Jr
10th Jul 2013 (#)

Nice to know. I always wonder about Ho Saturnia, ever since Sheldon kept bringing it up in The Big Bank Theory.
The Misteltone and the semen part cracks me up.

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