The Sunday before advent, is called ‘Stir-up Sunday’. The term comes from the opening words of the collect for the day in the Book of Common Prayer of 1549 and later:
“Stir-up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people; that they, plenteously bringing forth the fruit of good works’…………….”
It was traditional on this day for everyone in the family to take a turn at stirring the Christmas pudding, whilst making a wish. On Stir-up Sunday families returned from Church and gave the pudding its traditional lucky stir. The Christmas pudding known today began life as Christmas porridge called ‘Frumenty’, a dish made of wheat or corn boiled up in milk. As time went on, other ingredients, such as dried plums or prunes, eggs, and lumps of meat were added to make it more interesting. When cooked, it was poured into a dish. This pudding was called Plum Pudding. The name ‘Plum Pudding’ continued to be used even when people used raisins, currants, and sultanas instead of prunes. 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 three penny piece. There seems little point in maintaining these old traditions – now that younger generations have succumbed to multi cultural American commercialism.