Barbara, the daughter of the rich merchant Dioscuros, grew up in
Nikomedia (today's Izmet, Turkey). In order to retain her innocence,
Barbara's father locked her up during his absence, in a tower with
only two windows. When Dioscuros returned from his journey, he found
the third window in the tower. Barbara was baptized by a priest
disguised as a physician, and she ordered to make the third window
as a symbol of the Holy Trinity.
it was done against her father's will, Barbara was accused, tortured
and condemned to death. A branch of cherry tree had gotten caught
in its dress, when she was locked into the dungeon. Barbara watered
it with the water from her drinking cup, and on the day of her execution
which the angry father had personally made (in the winter of 306),
the branch bloomed.. From this comes the "Barbarazweig,"
the custom of bringing branches into the house on December 4 to
bloom on Christmas. In some areas St. Barbara's is also the day
to bake Kletzenbrot (a fruit
early days of December are good for bringing in flowering branches
for forcing to bloom. Apple, chestnut, cherry, lilac and jasmine
branches are well suited for that. If outdoor temperatures have
been around 32 to 40 F for six weeks, most buds are ready for forcing.
Cut stems on a mild, none-freezing day. Look for branches with swollen
Barbarazweig, a branch of cherry
Mash the ends and put the branches in a bathtub of cool, not
icy, water for several hours. Leave branches for a few days in a
cool place. As soon as the buds appear to swell bring them into
a warm room, but not too close to the source of heat. Spray from
time to time with lukewarm water, and when the bloom buds appear,
place them on a window sill for they need a lot of light and cool
air, so that the bloom will stay fresh longer. Change water every
two days. Thin branches force quicker than thick ones; the flowers
should appear anywhere from one to five weeks later.
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