During Christmastime in France, like in the United States and elsewhere, festive sprigs or balls of mistletoe (known as gui in France) are seen hanging above doors or on beams and light fixtures, inviting anyone passing beneath to share a kiss. But why do strangers and lovers alike kiss beneath the mistletoe? Especially the French, who kiss on both cheeks when simply greeting one another. They don’t need mistletoe as an excuse to kiss. But in France, hanging mistletoe is more often a symbol of peace and a promise of good luck throughout the coming year than a reason to s'embrasser sous le gui. And, French people often give mistletoe to friends as a porte bonheur or good luck charm for the New Year.
"So this is Christmas, for weak and for strong. The rich and the poor ones, the war is so long... A very merry Christmas and a happy new year, let’s hope it’s a good one without any fear." These well-known lyrics from John Lennon and Yoko Ono's 1971 Christmas song ring true once again. We're fighting a different battle now for sure, but it's a battle nevertheless. And though much has been cancelled throughout 2020 and this holiday season because of Covid-19, Christmas has not been cancelled. We may have to celebrate in different places, different ways and break with some traditions this year to keep healthy and safe, but we can still celebrate Christmas in ways that promise yuletide cheer, laughter, and time well spent with loved ones both near and far.
When this self-described Francophile is not reading or writing about all things French, she's dreaming up charming new ways to showcase Lolo French Antiques et More or traveling to France with Lolo to buy delightful treasures for their store. Mimi, Lolo, and their new French Bulldog, Duke, live in Birmingham, AL.