Sunday, December 4, 2011
Christmas Lore--Day 3
December 4 (St. Barbara's Day) was a time to cut branches from fruit trees and bring them inside to a warm place so that they would bloom at Christmas. They would then be displayed as Christmas decorations. This practice was a German custom and was brought to America by early settlers. The Germans were responsible for many of our Christmas traditions.
I inadvertently did this one winter. I used to have an Angora bunny that loved to chew on fruit wood. There was an old pear tree beside the road leading to my house, so I would stop and cut limbs from it for Pierre. I put the limbs in a vase to stay fresh and they did bloom a few weeks later.
Give it a try!
UPDATE: Just found more information about gathering branches on St. Barbara's Day.
"There is also the attractive custom of "Saint Barbara's Branch," still practiced in some parts of Europe. On December 4 small branches are broken from fruit trees, especially cherries and put in a pitcher of water to be kept in the kitchen or some other warm room of the house These branches then break into bloom around Christmas Day. Many blossoms indicate great good luck; no blossoms mean very bad luck. He whose twig bursts into flower just on Christmas Day is especially blessed and is sure that he will not die during the following year." (from CatholicCulture.org)