Sunday, November 30, 2008

Advent Traditions: Young Wheat

According to some traditions, we are linked to the ancient past by young wheat, which in the Advent period represents the awakening of all new life. It is still a custom in Slovenia, usually on St. Lucia Day (December 13th) or St. Barbara Day (December 4th), to plant wheat seeds in shallow bowls. The bowls are placed in the crib, under the Christmas tree, or elsewhere in the living room, and during the Christmas period fresh green wheat sprouts grow from the seeds. This wheat is left to grow until the Festival of the Three Kings (Epiphany) or until Candlemas (February 2nd) at the latest. Similar traditions still exist in France, where lentils are also grown, and in croatia and the Ukraine, where the sprouted wheat has place of honour on the Christmas table.
Christmas! Traditions, Celebrations and Food Across Europe (Stella Ross Collins)
No wheat seeds here, but on the feast of St. Barbara (4th) I plan to cut some twigs from the hedge surrounding our garden, put them in water and see if I can force them to flower during Christmas.

1 comment:

LeeAnn said...

Thanks for the tip about sprouting lentils! I had heard before about the Christmas wheat, but being gluten-intolerant I was sort of ambivalent towards the poor plant. We also are planning to cut some branches for St. Barbara's day, if only I can find a willing neighbor. We have nothing but maple and arbor vitae in our garden. Cute redesign for Advent!