Snap off a cherry twig and call it Babs. If it blooms before Christmas you’re in for good luck!
When: December 4th every year.
Where: Various countries.
St. Barbara, one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers, is the patron saint of soldiers, miners, and a happy death and her feast day is on December 4th.
She was kept under lock and key by her father and then sent to be executed for becoming a Christian. On the days running up to her execution, depressed and alone in her cell, it is said that Barbara found a shriveled cherry tree branch, which she watered daily with a few drops from her drinking water. She took some delight in her last days from the beautiful cherry blossoms that appeared just days before her execution.
Traditionally in the Germanic countries, particularly in Austria and the Catholic regions of Germany a Barbarazweig (or Barbara branch) is cut from a cherry tree and placed in water in a warm room. According to legend, if the twig blooms on or before Christmas Day then good luck will come to the person who cut it. If it blooms on December 25th precisely then this is regarded as a particularly good sign for the future.
Saint Barbara’s day or Eid il-Burbara is also celebrated in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Palestine among Arab Christians where Burbara (a bowl of boiled barley, pomegranate seeds, raisins, anise and sugar) is offered to children in fancy dress. The general belief among Lebanese Christians is that Saint Barbara disguised herself as numerous characters to elude the Romans who were persecuting her.
Tell us if your Barbara branch blooms before Christmas. You can share your pics on our facebook page too! Or if you just want to say hi, or leave a comment for any other reason, we’d love to hear from you.