St. Barbara’s wheat

‘When the wheat goes well, everything goes well.’

A food often associated with the feast of St. Barbara is St. Barbara’s wheat.

Why wheat? Legend says that Barbara was fleeing from Roman persecution when she ran through a field of freshly planted wheat. As she ran, the wheat grew instantly, covering her path and protecting her from those chasing her.

In France and the Ukraine, for example, seeds of wheat are planted on her feast day in three small saucers (representing the Holy Trinity). The faster and taller the wheat grows, the more prosperous the new year will be.

In Middle Easter countries such as Syria and Lebanon, a pudding made with wheat, raisins, pine nuts, walnuts and almonds is served on her feast day.

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Until the post-Vatican II reform of the liturgical calendar, the universal fest of St. Barbara was celebrated on December 4. Today her feast is generally a local celebration.

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