Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Barbara Day - December 4

December 4 is the Feast of Saint Barbara, or Barbara Tag. According to legend (though they vary), Barbara grew up in what is now Turkey. Her father, Dioscorus, a wealthy merchant, would lock Barbara up in a tower when he was  away in order to preserve her virginity. One day he came home to find three windows in the tower, instead of two. He asked her what happened, and she confessed that she had converted to Christianity, and been baptized by a Priest who had disguised himself as a doctor. The third window was added as a symbol of the Holy Trinity.  This infuriated her father, and as it was done against his will, she was accused, brought before a judge, and sentenced to beheading. Her father, legend has it, was struck dead by lightening on the very same day. 

Legend has it that a branch of a cherry tree got caught in Barbara´s dress. She watered it daily in her tower cell, and on the day of her execution (in 306) it bloomed. 

On Barbara Tag, many people purchase a Barbara Zweig, or Barbara Branch of a cherry tree. If you put it in water on December 4, it is said to bloom on Christmas, bringing good luck. 

Though the Catholic Church deemed Saint Barbara a non-historical person, and removed her feast day from the official Church calendar in 1969, many people in Catholic regions of Germany still celebrated the tradition. 

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