Welcome to my new blog! Following many years of graduate study in musicology (see my bio if you don't know what musicology is), I am finally embarking on my fieldwork portion of my degree, spending one year in Germany. For all the latest updates on Music, Life, and Travel, read on, friends!

Wednesday, November 21

What's missing in your life? Is it mistletoe?

As the seasons have changed, and it seems like Europe spends more and more of its days in darkness (see e.g., the sunrise today at 8:00 and the sunset at 16:30), one of the only ways to bring a bit of life into your home is to bring some of the greens indoors. The Bonn markets have obliged in helping with this; most of their Blumenstraeusse (bouquets) have been replaced with evergreen wreaths and red berries. And yes, they even cater to our mistletoe (Mistelzweig, auf Deutsch) needs.

Winter plants and sticks at the Marktplatz.

Advent wreaths are very common at this time of year.

What is that stuff!?!?!

Growing up, I never really thought much about mistletoe, except that you might get assaulted kissed if you lingered under it for too long! I remember seeing plastic globes like these as a child:

These other-worldly looking, artificial balls have nothing in common with their natural counterparts, as I realized during my first Christmas in Germany. At first I didn't recognize the bunches of greenery that dotted the marketplace in Freiburg. I have rarely noticed seeing mistletoe in the wild in the USA, but it is all over the place in Germany!* I started spotting it last month as the trees along the Rhine began to lose their leaves. Below are my feeble attempts at photographing some of the clusters along the river: 

The elusive mistletoe cluster!

This tree had tons of mistletoe.

I think this is the same tree from above, just on the way home from Koblenz!
Pretty soon the markets will have HUGE bunches of mistletoe available for all your Christmas ritual needs!
Now available at a market near you!
*So, it makes a lot of sense that I never noticed live mistletoe in the US because the plant is not native to North America. For other mistletoe insights, such has mistletoe's use as an ancient form of birth control, check out Wikipedia

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