Legend tells us that Saint Barbara was fleeing Roman soldiers through a field of wheat and the wheat grew up to surround her, covering her path and instantly protecting her from her persecutors. It is, therefore, appropriate that wheat is the food most often associated with this feast.
In the Ukraine it is traditional to plant three seeds of wheat (representing the Holy Trinity) in three small saucers, sprouting them and transferring them to pots when ready. The quicker and taller the wheat stalks grow the more prosperous the coming year shall be.
In the Middle East a wheat pudding is served in honor of this day (recipe to follow). Saint Barbara is also the patroness of members of field artillery and architects. Read the story here. Her being the patroness of architects makes this a lovely day to build your gingerbread house if this is part of your tradition, and hey nothing wrong with the canned frosting and graham cracker version, especially if you have wee ones.
A meditation for the day
Jesus said, "Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built this house on rock. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house. But it did not collapse. It had been set solidly on a rock." ~ Matthew 7:21, 24-27
Let us try, this Advent season, to build our homes solidly on the rock of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. To take in His word and make it the foundation upon which we build and grow our hearts as well as our homes.
1 cup of whole wheat berries (available in Middle Eastern grocery stores)
1/2 cup of honey
1 cup of milk (slightly warmed)
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1/2 cup raisins (golden if you can)
1 Tbsp chopped walnuts
1 Tbsp chopped pine nuts
a sprinkle of coconut
Eight hours or the night before serving, place whole grain in a large jar and cover with boiling water. The next morning, the wheat will be tender and puffy.
2. In a medium bowl, combine honey, milk, and corn starch together. Place in a medium saucepan over medium heat and stir to combine. Increase heat to high and boil, stirring, for 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low, and cook until pudding has thickened. Taste, and adjust sugar, if necessary.
3. Stir in raisins and distribute into 4 dessert bowls.
4. Mix pine nuts, walnuts, and coconut together and sprinkle on top of pudding. Serve warm.