Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Two little love birds....Kissing -the history of

Two little love birds
Sittin' in a tree

Once upon a time, men and women didn't kiss. Or at least, no one knew about it. There wasn't anything drawn on cave walls like practically everything else was.  As far back as ancient Egypt, there were reports written on how to do practically everything. But nothing mentions placing lips together for any reason. So, when did man start this game of kissing anyway?
Rumor has it  (To Kiss Vaughn M Bryant Jr. and Sylvia Grider The World &I, Dec 1991) that around 1500B.C.   the Vedic Sanskrit mentioned  rituals for spells and charms etc  first mentioned such  close encounters of one's faces. They rubbed noses. (I always called this Eskimo kissing.) 

 Then 500 - 1000 years later, this act moved to pressing lips together So what is kissing. Wikipedia says to kiss is the "act of pressing one's lips against the lips or other body parts of another person or object." 

We start with India's Kama Sutra that records many erotic practices including many examples of types of kissing, what parts of the body, special kissing methods before and after marriage.

Then, the Greeds took it up a notch to include men as in greeting one another.  The armies of Alexander the Great likely enjoyed whatdiscovered this art form and brought it back to Greece and this fine art began to develop into different kinds of kisses:
  • Adolescent kissing...kissing our children's hurts away or goodnight.
  • Sexual kissing- see below
  • Kiss of Affection- a friend that is not sexual. as gratitude, compassion sympathy....
  • kiss as a ritual or religion as found in the Bible according to Paul. Kissing the feet or hem or rings out of respect, peace,respect, or friendship
  • Or the infamous  Kiss of Death/the Godfather kiss.
Until now, kissing was equivalent to shaking hands usually, but the Romans perfected this art form. The osculum...kiss of friendship as a peck on the cheek that was not passion still popular in Russia, France, and Greece as well as Italy.This kiss was also used to determined if the wife or daughter has been hitting the wine. It would linger on their mouth and could be smelled.
Then thanks to writers as Catullus and is Mistress Lesbia and another writer Ovid and his "The Art of Love" --that was banned from Rome as he was-- the young Romans discovered the  joy of 'basium'  or the more passionate kisses.  And thus we have kissing  in Spanish-besar, in Italian-baciare, in French-baiser and in common English- bass-a wet smacking kiss.  But the word kiss is a Germanic root word.  or possibly Old English- cyssan/ to kiss from coss/a kiss.
Anyway, the Romans enjoyed this to the point of even taking it farther to  yet another kind of kissing. the Saviolum or 'a kiss sweeter than sweet ambrosia.  This was the kiss of wild passion that we know know as the 'soul kiss' or 'the French kiss.'  Interesting enough is that Ovid thought the 'kissing of the tongue was shameful voluptuous and even lewd. 
Seriously now, this got really out of hand that Rome instituted laws regarding kissing. If a man kissed a girl publicly, she could demand that he marry her.  Why? Because the husband of this young woman should have first rights to her virgin kiss, which she experienced at her betrothal.
Then with the arrival of Christianity, at the end of the wedding. Thus the wedding kiss. "You may now kiss the bride."

Another infamous kiss is under the mistletoe. Now this comes from the Celtic world where Druids revered this herb that dates back to Norse Mythology. The Trickster Loki kills the beloved god Balder with an herb that grows on only oak trees...mistletoe.

Thus the Druids revered this herb with attributes of healing diseases, make poisons harmless, bring fertility to women, protect against evil, bring the blessing of the gods. So to honor this, the Celts hung mistletoe in their entries to bring peace and love to the house. Because one could not fight beneath this herb. Here they were required to be friends.

But the Celts didn't kiss under the mistletoe.  This is a recent development since the Medieval period of Europe. 

 So, okay. The Celts believed mistletoe to have magic power. The Romans  used the kiss to seal friendships and a betrothal.  . And since Christianity, a kiss under this herb was a serious commitment...any time of the year.  And, since Christmas is a time of peace, love and joy, ....
 ....why shouldn't we bring our 34 facial muscles and 112 postural muscles together  and share saliva  under the leaves of  vicum album to reduce stress  in our relationships, lower cholesterol levels, and release epinephrine and norepinephrine loose in the blood? 
 Sounds good to me. 

J.F. Ridgley
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RPride website 

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