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.
As 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..Â Â 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 cake).
I remember when i was a kid that we did cut a cherry twig and put it in water to see it bloom on christmas ð and we decorated it with some little ornaments too. My mom had it sit on her little dresser in the entrance hallway.
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