Stir Up Sunday

This Sunday, the 23 November 2015, is when it all begins, as the children don their aprons and find their wooden spoons and mixing bowls ready to “stir-up” the mincemeat and Christmas pudding mix. Stir-up Sunday falls on the last Sunday before advent and is connected to a bible passage read to churchgoers; “Stir up; we beseech thee, O Lord.” The family would leave church to go home and teach the children how to stir up the ingredients for the pudding.

Traditionally, families gather together in the kitchen of their homes to mix and steam Christmas pudding on a Stir up Sunday. Traditionally is a term that these days invariably means “Victorian”. And that’s true in this case. If you don’t normally make your own Christmas pud, now is your chance to start and renew this tradition with your own family. Parents teach their children how to mix ingredients for the pudding. Everyone takes a turn to stir the pudding mix for each person involved is able to make a special wish for the year ahead. Practically, stirring the mixture is hard work, therefore as many as possible are involved. By tradition the pudding mixture is stirred from East to West in honour of the three wise men who visited the baby Jesus.

In some households, silver coins are added to the pudding mix. It is believed that finding a coin brings good luck. Nowadays, sterilised (i.e. boiled) silver coins are placed under each serving on Christmas Day to avoid emergency visits to the dentist - and intra-family arguments!In recent times, two-thirds of British children surveyed, revealed that they had never experienced stirring Christmas pudding mix. It comes with their parents' preference for ready made-mix of puddings available in grocery stores.

 

A little about Advent

Advent has probably been observed since the fourth century. Originally, it was a time when converts to Christianity readied themselves for baptism.

During the Middle Ages, Advent became associated with preparation for the Second Coming. In early days Advent lasted from November 11, the feast of St. Martin, until Christmas Day. Advent was considered a pre-Christmas season of Lent when Christians devoted themselves to prayer and fasting. The Orthodox Eastern Church observes a similar Lenten season, from November 15 until Christmas, rather than Advent.

In the last fifty years, however, it has also come to be thought of as a time of anticipating the Nativity, on Christmas Day.

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