Stir Up Sunday & Christmas Pudding
Deriving from the opening words of the collect for the last Sunday before advent (26 November in 2006) which begins ‘Stir-up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people’, Stir Up Sunday is the traditional day for making your Christmas Pudding. Originating in the 14th century, Christmas Pudding started life as a fasting meal in preparation for the festivities. Ingredients then included frumenty (a kind of porridge), mutton, beef, wine, spices and dried fruit. By the 17th century it had evolved into something closer to what we would recognise today and George I’s love of it established it as part of the Christmas meal. However, it was the Victorians that honed the recipe and the tradition into what we know today.
There are several rather heart-warming traditions that go along with the making of a Christmas pudding, all based on the family and the true meaning of Christmas. Rather heart-warming I think. These traditions include:
The pudding should be made from 13 different ingredients to represent Jesus and his 12 disciples.
Each member of the family should take a turn in stirring the pudding and making a wish.
In honour of the Three Kings, the pudding should be stirred from east to west.
The Victorians also introduced the tradition of including silver charms (always a bit risky I thought) including a coin to bring worldly wealth a ring for marriage and a thimble for a life of blessedness.
This traditional Victorian recipe is the one used for our own family Christmas dinner and is delivered to the table as a huge fireball by my Official Taster who is usually minus his eyebrows!