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Catholic Activity: St. Barbara's Cherry Twigs


  • cherry tree twigs
  • vases
  • water

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This custom originates from the belief that Saint Barbara will pick the right husband for young unmarried girls.

December 4 was the universal feast of St. Barbara, until the revision of the General Roman Calendar. She was a saint that presented historical difficulties. Her feast is still December 4, but only celebrated locally in various areas.


On the fourth of December, [Editor's Note: The feast of St. Barbara has been removed from the current General Roman Calendar.] unmarried members of the household are supposed to go out into the orchard and cut twigs from the cherry trees and put them into water. There is an old belief that whoever's cherry twig blossoms on Christmas Day can expect to get married in the following year. As most of us are always on tour at this time of the year, someone at home will be commissioned to "cut the cherry twigs." These will be put in a vase in a dark corner, each one with a name tag, and on Christmas Day they will be eagerly examined; and even if they are good for nothing else, they provide a nice table decoration for the Christmas dinner.

Activity Source: Around the Year with the Trapp Family by Maria Augusta Trapp, Pantheon Books Inc., New York, New York, 1955