On the feast of Saint Barbe (December 4th), the first Provençal Christmas tradition takes place in France. Growing wheat. I bought my grains the day before at the bakery. I remember that
Annie's wheat was always superior to mine. "Experience," she use to say, plus I think Saint Barbe is on her side.
How to grow Christmas Wheat at Christmas:
First, find a plate, or a waterproof container or box or something nice, to place your wheat grains on to grow.
Step two, layer cotton on the bottom of the chosen object, if you do not have cotton, a paper napkin will do.
Third step, moisten the cotton with a dab of water, but not gushing soak.
I have heard you can use moss on which to scatter your grains, which seems tres chic, though I have traditionally used cotton. Every other day you will need to moisten the cotton holding the grains, until you see that they're full-grown.
Also, the grains need to be by indirect sunlight.
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.
Other grains can be used, wheat is the traditional choice in France.
The sprouting grains of wheat are used to decorate the table at Christmas, and or the creche (nativity scene.) Plates of growing wheat are in shops, homes, schools... Everyone in France has a mini wheat field growing, even at the post office.
After Epiphany Annie use to take hers and plants it in a nearby wheat field, she said that is also, part of the tradition.
French Husband came in while I was taking photos of the wheat grain, he asked what I was doing...
After I told him he said, "You forgot the most important part!"
"What did I forget Smarty Pants?"
"The last step. You must kiss over the wheat for good fortune."
I shook my head no, "Annie never mentioned that."
I am not sure how true this part of the tradition is, but it sure makes the process more fun. And I never say no to kissing.
(I look like a horse ready to eat the wheat grains...)
What Christmas traditions are you following, or breaking?
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