A Flowery Tradition

Saint Barbara’s Day, December 4th, is known in this part of the world as the day to venture out into the garden with the gardening shears…

Cut a young branch of a fruit or nut tree or Forsythia and bring it into the house. (I cut several smaller pieces of Forsythia and two small hazelnut branches).



Put it in lukewarm water for a few hours, then in a vase of fresh water. Place in a cool but light spot, change the water every few days, and it should flower on Christmas Eve. It is also said to bring good luck to the house for the new year!

Do you have this tradition in your part of the world?

48 thoughts on “A Flowery Tradition

    • Donna, I have started drafting a post for the seasonal celebrations meme, so I could include this tradition in that. Thanks for suggesting I take part. I was a bit daunted at the idea, as the others are all such top blogs, but I’m giving it a try! 😀 Will let you know when it’s ready to post!

  1. Sounds like a wonderfil tradition. No, I have not traditions personally but lots of of people make their own for special holidays such as Christmas. This post was informative- i like that you always come up with something interesting.

  2. We have no holiday here to do this but all New England gardeners do this kind of thing with our Forsythias once the buds are full and waiting on SPRING 🙂 Probably from the OLD COUNTRY ways 🙂 Your bunch looks Pretty 🙂

  3. Another interesting tradition Cathy! An elderly relative used to force forsythia and also pussy willow for lovely arrangements. I don’t have either in my garden but think I’ll look around for something to substitute. Happy Saint Barbara’s Day!

  4. I’m not familiar with St. Barbara’s Day, but this is a lovely tradition. I don’t have anything quite like it, but I do enjoy forcing bulbs indoors this time of year. Hyacinths and Paper whites are fragrant and a fun Christmas tradition.

  5. In our former garden there was an old cherry-tree. At that time we cut branches of it to have flowering cherry-blooms at Christmas.
    For Easter we still do it with birch and forsythia benches as “Herbstbaum” says.
    I like this really lovely tradition.

  6. This is so lovely! I have seen more and more people use twigs for decorations and hang baubles from them, in fact this is what I intend to do this year because I’m short of space. I’ve not heard of this tradition though but how amazing will it be to have this in flower for Christmas day! I really need to find some forsythia! You mention fruit trees too, will apple branches work? I have an apple and pear tree.

  7. I just googled ‘forsythia tradition December’ – researching a memory of my German-descendant grandmother forcing blooms just in time for Christmas and found your post! Lovely! I don’t remember my grandmother mentioning St Barbara (though her daughter/my mother is named Barbara!). I copied your URL and shared with my mom and two aunts — such a wonderful happy memory of my grandmother, Ruth Lang Kraft. Thank you! Next December 4 I will try to restart this tradition for my 4 children here in Chicago!

    • Your comment has made me really happy – I am so glad you have found out about this tradition! Some people do this in spring for Easter, but in Germany it’s very well known for St Barbara’s Day because the Saints’ days are part of folklore and everyday sayings. I hope it works for you all next year! 😀

  8. I collected some twigs over the weekend, but not forsythia, I’ve put them in a vase though and put some baubles on them! I love it!! I have no room for a tree this year so it’s just perfect. I’ll take a photo!

  9. Pingback: Barbarazweig Blossoms | Words and Herbs

  10. Pingback: Barbarazweig Blossoms | Words and Herbs

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