Saint Barbara's Day
My mother introduced me to a century-old tradition regarding the Day of Saint Barbara.
On December 4th, you are cutting a branch from either a: apple, pear, plum, cherry, linden, or lilac.
Only branches with buds should be chosen. Put them in a bath of luke-warm water. This signals to the blossoms, that spring has begun and they are allowed to bloom. To ensure that the branches can absorb more water, their ends can be softened at the end of the day, using a hammer.
After the bath, put the branches into a vase with fresh water. It should be replaced every 3-4 days. If the air in your living room is very dry, sprinkle the branches daily with some water.
If you follow these directions, you will have some beautiful blossoms on Christmas day.
Believe me, it works. I do not have a " green thumb", but even I can make this happen.
What is behind this tradition?
The day of Saint Barbara is steeped in rich history. Besides her role as a bringer of good bounties before Christmas, to the present day, branches are cut to adorn our houses with beautiful flowers on Christmas day. In former times, the branches were used to foresee the future. According to regional folklore, the blossoming of the buds brings fortune for the next year.
Saint Barbara herself is believed to have lived at the end of the 3.century in today's Izmit, Turkey.
Legend says that she died for her Christian belief on December 4th, at the hands of her father, who was a pagan.
She was executed because she did not renounce her faith, even under torture.
On her way to prison, her gown got stuck at a branch. She put the branch in her cell in some water. It bloomed the day of her death.
Saint Barbara is the patron saint of the miners, builders, firemen, and the dying.
Legend tells, that no one who calls her, will die without the last sacraments.
Her name stands for bravery and steadfastness.