December 6, 2009

Sainte Barbe Day, A Provence Tradition

In Provence, the Christmas season begins on 4 December, Saint Barbara's Day, with a tradition dating to Greek and Roman times. You begin by choosing a saucer or other small container. Cover the bottom of the container with soft cotton. You can use a sheet of cotton or simply pull apart cotton balls. Then lightly sprinkle the cotton with water. It needs to be wet but don't drown it. I like to drip the water off the tips of my fingers. Now, scatter grains of hard wheat over the damp cotton. I purchased my hard wheat from the bins at Earth Fare. Water lightly daily. The grains should germinate in a few days and soon you will have wheat grass. The germinated wheat represents prosperity and a good harvest for the following year. Be careful not to overwater as it will rot the grains.

You can see that I got a little carried away with the number of containers. I even used empty tealight containers, and my friend, Lin, used an olive boat. Use the sprouted wheat on the table at Christmas as well as in and around the creche (nativity).