The first Sunday in Advent has passed and after having packed the last Christmas order, I treated myself with a walk through the frost-glittering meadows, armed with my camera, a basket and secateurs. Today is the feast day of Saint Barbara and, as every year (following an old German custom), I cut branches from a wild cherry tree and a crabapple tree to bring inside…
Saint Barbara (d. c. 306 C.E. in Nikomedia) is one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers, a Christian saint and martyr. According to the legend, Barbara confessed herself to be Christian and was locked away in a tower by her father and sentenced to death. On her way to prison, a branch got caught in Barbara’s vest. She kept the branch in her drinking cup and it started to bloom on the day of her execution.
In the old days, people picked Saint Barbara branches on the 4th of December, brought them inside and prettied them up with sweets and little gifts. If the branches started to bloom on Christmas Day, it meant good luck – and who couldn’t need a good portion of that?
A little tip: If you cut branches from fruit trees today, pick thinner twigs with swollen (flower) buds and put in a vase in a warm space (not too close to a heating source). I change the water in the vases every day and cut the stems from time to time – and as every year, I look forward to see them bloom in three, four weeks.