Sainte Barbe and the Christmas Wheat
On December 4th, the feast of Sainte Barbe, the first Provençal Christmas tradition takes place in France.
First, you find a plate or box, or something nice, that is water proof, to place your wheat grains to grow. Then you place moisten cotton on the bottom of your plate, or object of choice. Next, you thickly scatter grains of wheat, on the moisten cotton. I have heard you can use moss on which to scatter your grains, which seems tres chic! I have traditionally used cotton. Every other day you will need to moisten the grains, until you see that they're full- grown. Also, the grains need to be by indirect light.
The outcome of the wheat is said to be a symbol of the harvest to come. If the grains germinate and sprout beautifully, it is said that the harvest will be bountiful. If the grains shoots are immature and yellow, poor harvests are predicted! If nothing happens...well maybe you watered it too much, or didn't have it close to a source of light, or your grains were old, nevertheless, it isn't a good sign, as far as symbols are concerned! It is also said that the shoots growth predict your good fortune for the year to come.
The sprouting grains of wheat are used to decorate the table at Christmas, and or the creche, (nativity scene.) You can see plates of growing wheat, in shops, homes and schools, everyone has a mini wheat field growing, even the post office!
Our neighbor takes hers and plants it in a nearby wheat field, she says that is also, part of the tradition.