St. Barbara's Day
The Feast of Saint Barbara
December 4th is the day we honor St. Barbara. Barbara was born in Nikomedia, now Turkey, in the third century. She was the daughter of Dioscuros, a very wealthy pagan who imprisoned her in a tower to keep her isolated and protected from the evils of the world.
She secretly became a Christian, baptized by a priest disguised as a physician. The tower had only two windows, but while her father was away on a journey, she had a third window added to represent the Holy Trinity.
When Dioscuros returned, he asked her about the third window and she told him that she had become a Christian and would no longer practice pagan rituals. The authorities ordered her execution. She escaped from the tower but was caught, tortured and then killed by her own father. Her father was immediately struck to death by lightning.
Barbara protects against fire, storms, lightning, sudden death and is the patron saint of stone masons, firemen, artillerymen, and those working with fireworks.
Herbs Associated with Saint Barbara's Day
Barbara kept cherry branches in the tower and on the day she died, they burst into bloom. December 4th is the day to bring a cherry branch inside and begin the process of forcing the blooms.
Maria von Trapp of the Trapp Family Singers from the Sound of Music wrote in "Around the Year with the Trapp Family" (Pantheon Books, 1955) that the Austrian legend states that if a person's branch blossoms on Christmas Day, he or she will be married in the following year.
Wheat and Roses
Wheat and roses are both beautiful additions to the Feast of Saint Barbara for decorations and for your meal. Freshly baked bread with rose petal jelly is sublime!
12/4/2013 11:08:18 am
What a lovely treat to read on this December day! You are a beautiful writer and I have learned a lot about Pine, Amber, and St. Barbara.
12/6/2013 01:48:57 am
Nancy! Oh, I have missed you! Hope you are coming back to RI next year. Hope you Christmas is Merry too! Hugs!!!
12/4/2013 09:40:42 pm
Such a treasure trove of information! Love reading your site Mikell..I never stop learning from it..
12/6/2013 01:50:33 am
Thank you! Couldn't do it without your continuous support, proofing, hand holding and cheer leading!!! Love ya!!!
11/27/2021 11:13:17 am
I really enjoyed reading about the Syrian legend of St. Barbara with the bread and roses. I was wondering from what source you found that legend. I would like to read more about it.
11/27/2021 11:59:02 am
Hi Rachel, My grandmother told me about most of the legends - it’s been over a half a century so I don’t remember exactly! And a lot of supporting information has come from Adelma Simmons from Capriland and Bertha Reppert from the Rosemary House. Hope that will help!
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Welcome!! I’m Mikell (pronounced Michael). If you love spicing up your life with herbs, recipes, decorating and crafts, symbolism and rituals like I do, I hope you’ll sign up for my newsletter and free Enhancing Your Life with Herbs e-book!
Mikell is a writer, artist and professional treasure hunter, finding the greatest treasures in the wonderful people who enter her life!