Action Alert!

Catholic Activity: St. Barbara Branch or Barbarazweig


  • cherry or peach branch with closed buds
  • water
  • vase

Prep Time

30 minutes




For Ages



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Celebrate Saint Barbara with this little German custom. 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.


The excitement of the first Sunday of Advent has hardly died down when the feast of the virgin-martyr Barbara, December 4th, comes along, inviting every member of the family to put his "St. Barbara twig" (a cherry or peach branch) into water, so that it may sprout and yield blossoms on the day "when Mary bore a Flower bright, which opened in bleak winter, all in a starlit night." Naturally, the child whose twig has the most blossoms is holy Mary's most favored "Twig." [Editor's Note: The Universal Roman calendar omits the feast of St. Barbara.]

Activity Source: Your Home, A Church in Miniature by Compiled by The Family Life Bureau in the early 1950s, The Neumann Press, Long Prairie, Minnesota, 1994