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Mistletoe: The Story Behind A Christmas Tradition

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Ann Cantania, owner of Ten Pennies Florist and Decorators in South Philly, stands under mistletoe. (Credit: Michelle Durham)

Ann Cantania, owner of Ten Pennies Florist and Decorators in South Philly, stands under mistletoe. (Credit: Michelle Durham)

Michelle Durham Michelle Durham
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By Michelle Durham

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Placing mistletoe under a doorway is a Christmas tradition, but do you know why? And what is mistletoe? It has quite a romantic history.

Who better to ask about the romantic history of mistletoe than Ann Cantania, owner of Ten Pennies Florist and Decorators in South Philly. Ann explains the history behind mistletoe, with the knowledge of someone with over 30 years in the floral business.

“A young maiden wanted to find the love of her life. So, she looked for this beautiful mistletoe. And she wanted to be kissed under it, because that would mean his heart would be hers.”

Listen to Michelle Durham’s full interview with Ann Cantania in this CBS Philly podcast:

Two hundred years before Christ’s birth, it is believed the Druids celebrated the start of winter by gathering mistletoe and hanging the plant in their homes to ensure a good start to the year, but Catania says there’s much more to mistletoe than meets the eye. She sees it every day when couples see it in her store.

“She looks at him and he gives her a kiss. It’s the magic of Christmas. There is nothing more important in life than to have someone be complete than to have someone love them.”

It’s important to point out that mistletoe is actually a parasite. And while the berries could prove a temptation for children and pets, it’s dangerous when ingested. So handle with care as you wait for the magic to unfold in your life.

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