Monday, December 12, 2011

A French Christmas - "Gui de chêne" (Mistletoe!)

"Marchand de Gui" - French Mistletoe Seller

A festive and traditional decorative item used in French homes during the Christmas season is "Gui de chêne" (mistletoe!) It is hung above the door, on beams and lights during the Christmas season to bring good fortune throughout the coming year.

Mistletoe can be found everywhere in France, growing in apple, oak, beech and other hardwood trees. You can see it hanging from leafless tree branches forming an almost perfectly round clump of greenery. At Christmastime, the female mistletoe plant is filled with pearlescent, round white berries.

When I think of mistletoe and Christmas, the custom of kissing under the mistletoe comes to mind. But the French are less reserved, kiss on both cheeks at greetings, and don't usually need such tokens for their kissing! In France, hanging mistletoe is a symbol of peace and of good luck and often more associated with The New Year than with Christmas.

To meet the demand for mistletoe in both France and other European countries, mistletoe has historically been sold on the street by "Marchands de Gui" - Mistletoe Sellers.

Mistletoe at My Faux French Chateau

Joyeux Noël, Mitty

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