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Leviticus 185/84: Stir-Up Sunday ... creating the Pudding ....

Stir up, we beseech thee O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people …. that they, plenteously bringing forth the fruit of good works, may of thee be plenteously rewarded; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen … And that, the Collect for the last Sunday before Advent, is seen informally as the origin of 'Stir Up thy Christmas Pudding Sunday'; and more recently add all the silver thrupenny pieces you may have to hand such that those who find them may be rewarded - say £1 for each 3d [denarius] = 3/240ths of £1 which for such silver gives a multiple of 80 in today's coinage. We wonder if that will persuade them to eat some [Anne never did more than a single spoonful!] … even as crisply fried for Boxing Day breakfast with golden syrup? I started cleaning our accumulated stash of silver thrupenny bits, genuine silver till 1947 but thereafter not so! Avril pondered their metal value with George V dated 1917 and 1918 as well as 1936 [his last]. The pudding specifically needs 13 ingredients for Jesus and his 12 disciples and must be stirred attired in apron three times each from east to west to depict the Wise Men traveling to his birth. The pudding has holly on top to depict the Crown of Thorns he wore to the Cross and it is set on fire to represent the Passion for Christianity of the disciples.

Has Christmas pudding ever been banned? Well, funny you should ask, because yes it has... in the 17th century, after the execution of King Charles I, Oliver Cromwell is said to have banned the eating of Christmas Pudding along with all festive merriment from carols to carousing. In a bid to tackle festive gluttony [obesity?] and restore Christmas to its religious roots it was suggested that instead of a feast day Christmas should rather be a fast day. Amazing how much difference the letter 'e' can make. Cromwell had also argued that Christmas contained too many superstitions of the Roman Catholic Church which he hated. The Christmas bans didn’t go down well causing outrage and there followed the Plum Pudding Riots in Canterbury in 1657. Cromwell ended up having to send 3,000 soldiers from The Westgate Towers to break down the city gates and enforce the ban. Luckily, when the Stuarts were restored in 1660 King Charles II saw to it that Christmas and a great deal more was restored!
2pm sees the Family all Stirring Up the pudding … Avril had made ready in the large mixing basin and included overnight the Calvados, already 20 years old when we obtained it in Normandy and now 30 years old! It was chilly in the autumn sunshine so the adults had a tot and hot chocolate all round was served as well. It was my role to explain the silver thrupennies and demonstrate their actuality … I was dressed in Lochnaw tartan and South Korean Christmas tie, Avril a House of Bruar very warm Cable Cardigan and Elliot a suitably festive hat. Then Elliot initiated proceedings by adding the final ingredients and inviting the family's top footballer talent, Henry, to make the first stir. His biggest question was which way was east/ west .. but he resolved that and we all followed suit …. he himself had just arrived from the east i.e. The Manor House …..

And father Julian of course added vital finishing touches … and headed to The Dip to bring Toby back whence he had escaped again!

It was a chance to catch up on Gerry's progress after his operation and Elliot's school report by ZOOM … evidently he did well for his music which augurs well for the Dedication Ceremony for our new book to His Much Honoured Saxaphone … some time soon. The venue was probably lawful, outdoors, they in their garden we in our's.

Published Date: November 22nd 2020

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