Stir-Up Sunday


Also found in: Wikipedia.

Stir-Up Sunday

In England some people still refer to the Sunday before the beginning of Advent as "Stir-Up Sunday." The name comes from the traditional collect (or prayer) offered in Anglican churches on that day. It reads: "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." In past times the words "stir up," however, also reminded people to begin preparing their Christmas puddings (see also Plum Pudding). Children chanted a rhymed verse on that day that mixed the words of the collect with requests for special Christmas fare: "Stir up, we beseech thee, the pudding in the pot, and when we do get home tonight, we'll eat it up all hot." Thus, the preparation of the Christmas pudding eventually became associated with this day. Folk beliefs advised each family member to take a turn stirring the pudding, an act that was believed to confer good luck. Another custom encouraged stirrers to move the spoon in clockwise rotations, close their eyes, and make a wish.

Further Reading

Henderson, Helene, and Sue Ellen Thompson, eds. Holidays, Festivals, andCelebrations of the World Dictionary. Second edition. Detroit, Mich.: Omnigraphics, 1997. Howard, Alexander. Endless Cavalcade. London, England: Arthur Baker, 1964. MacDonald, Margaret Read, ed. The Folklore of World Holidays. Detroit, Mich.: Gale Research, 1992. Muir, Frank. Christmas Customs and Traditions. New York: Taplinger, 1977.

Stir-Up Sunday

November-December; Sunday before Advent
The collect for the Sunday preceding Advent in the Church of England begins, "Stir up, we beseech Thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people." But the other "stirring up" that takes place on this day is more literal: the stirring of the batter for the traditional Christmas pudding, which must be prepared weeks in advance. It is customary for each member of the family to take turns stirring the pudding with a wooden spoon (symbolic of Jesus' crib), which is thought to bring good luck. The stirring is done clockwise, with eyes closed, and the stirrer makes a wish.
SOURCES:
BkHolWrld-1986, Nov 22
DictDays-1988, p. 114
EncyChristmas-2003, p. 741
FolkWrldHol-1999, p. 679
OxYear-1999, pp. 500, 636
References in periodicals archive ?
WITH Christmas fast approaching, today is Stir-Up Sunday.
Traditionally, Stir-Up Sunday sees the stirring and steaming of Christmas puddings, when all the family can take turns to stir the mixture and make a wish.
Attendees will be provided with a recipe card, utensils and a very special 2016-dated silver sixpence, to be stirred into the mixture on Stir-up Sunday (Sunday, November 20).
Stir-up Sunday was introduced to the Victorians by Prince Albert.
Stir-Up Sunday I was informed, in a tone suggesting I was being treated like a half wit, is apparently traditionally the day when Christmas puddings are made.
I do now know, however, that Stir-Up Sunday will this year fall on November 25.
tomorrow is Stir-up Sunday, when we prepare our Christmas Puddings so they will be mature by Christmas Day.
NE of the traditions which proves Christmas is well and truly on the way is Stir-Up Sunday.
Pastry chef at the The Landmark London, Pierre Rebuzzi, says: "The traditional time to make Christmas pudding is the fifth Sunday before Christmas - Stir-up Sunday (November 22, the last Sunday before advent) - but you can make them any time.
This prayer is the Collect for the 25th Sunday after Trinity, which has long been known as Stir-Up Sunday, and traditionally the day housewives made their Christmas puddings.
STIR-UP Sunday used to be a big occasion in our household when I was growing up.