Sunday, November 22, 2015

Stir up Sunday

It's time to stir up the Christmas pudding. On the 25th Sunday after Trinity, the Sunday before Advent the pudding was started.  Everyone got a chance to stir for good luck, going counter clockwise (east to west like the three wise men). In a Victorian poem the mother is making a plum pudding with her active children.

There are various stories about Stir-up Sunday, and here are two selections from the 19th century.

"The twenty-fifth Sunday after Trinity is called by schoolboys Stir-up Sunday, from the collect [prayer] used on that day [in church]; and they repeat the following lines, without considering its irreverent application:

Stir up, we beseech thee,
   The pudding in the pot:
 And when we get home,
    We'll eat it all hot."
Observations on the Popular Antiquities of Great Britain... v 1, by John Brand, London: 1849


COME down to the kitchen, the pudding to stir...
"Raisins and currants, and bread-crumbs and suet—
I’m sure, cook, I wonder how ever you do it.
Eggs—what a number! and look at the spice!
Oh, won't this great big Christmas pudding be nice!

"Now, Jessie, the raisins—quick, take out each stone.
No, baby dear, leave the big basin alone;
Yes, you shall have some, my dear, by-and-by.
Now, Ernest, be quiet, and mind you don't cry.

"Well, if you're good you may each have a spoon
To stir up the pudding—but yet 'tis too soon;
We have not yet mixed it. Bring currants and peel,
For puddings, you know, take a very great deal.

"We'll now add the brandy and stir it around
(Baby dear, don't drop your spoon on the ground);
Now stir up, and stir up, and stir up again."
"Oh, cook, in my elbow I've got such a pain!"

Golden childhood; or, The child's own annual of pictures, poetry and music… Christmas, 1879. (poem and 1st image)
Illustrated News of the World 1890 (2d image)
Harper’s Weekly. NY: 1881 (3d image)

©2015 Patricia Bixler Reber
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