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Stir up Sunday

posted 16 Nov 2008, 08:43 by St Lawrence C of E Church   [ updated 15 Nov 2016, 13:01 ]
The fifth Sunday before Christmas is known as 'Stir up Sunday' which is an informal term in the Anglican Church for the last Sunday before the season of Advent, also known as 'Christ the King'.

The term comes from the opening words of the collect for the day in the Book of Common Prayer of 1549 and later (a translation of the Roman Missal's collect "Excita, quæsumus"):

“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."

Traditionally, Christmas puddings are made on Stir up Sunday. Families returned from Church and gave the pudding its traditional lucky stir. Children would chant this rhyme:

Stir up, we beseech thee,
The pudding in the pot;
And when we get home
We'll eat the lot.

Christmas pudding traditions

A proper Christmas pudding is always stirred from East to West in honour of the three Wise Men.

A Christmas pudding is traditionally made with 13 ingredients to represent Christ and His Disciples.

Every member of the family must give the pudding a stir and make a secret wish.

A coin was traditionally added to the ingredients and cooked in the pudding. It was supposedly to bring wealth to whoever found it on their plate on Christmas Day. The traditional coin was an old silver sixpence or threepenny bit.

Other traditional additions to the pudding included a ring, to foretell a marriage, and a thimble for a lucky life.