In modern holiday celebrations, mistletoe has become something of a kitsch-y joke, the inevitable prop for I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus humor.Share
But in the 1790s, when the print, left, was published, mistletoe still had an aura of wickedness, even danger. The ancient Druidic traditions linking mistletoe and fertility had not been forgotten, and kissing beneath the mistletoe was thought to lead to more promiscuity, or even - shudder! - marriage.
Certainly the four merry young couples in this print appear to be enjoying themselves. Some scholarly descriptions refer to this as a dance scene, and perhaps it does show nothing more than a particularly rollicking country dance. (Read more.)