Victorian Christmas Traditions – Stir Up Sunday

Christmas in Victorian England would not be complete without the making of the Christmas Pudding. This became such an important part of the Christmas celebration, it earned a distinction of its own on the Church calendar.

The last Sunday of the Church year, the Sunday before Advent, is often called “Stir Up Sunday.”

Stir Up Sunday is the traditional day everyone takes a turn stirring the Christmas Pudding while making a wish. Before the convenience of picking up dessert at the local store, this treat was made at home a month before Christmas in order to let the flavors all blend.

On Stir Up Sunday, families would return from Church and give the Pudding a lucky stir. The Pudding was stirred from East to West in following the tradition of the journey the Wise Men took to see the baby Jesus. While stirring the pudding, each family member would make a wish.


The name Stir Up Sunday comes from the opening words of the Collect for the day during the Church service. Taken from the Book of Common Prayer (1549 and later), the Collect is the prayer that “collects” all the themes of the readings of the day into one prayer. After Communion, the traditional Collect for the Day on Stir Up Sunday in the Church of England:

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.


On the way home from church, the children can often be heard reciting the rhyme:

Stir up, we beseech thee, the pudding in the pot;
And when we get home, we’ll eat the lot.
This is the translation of the Collect the children gleaned : )
The tradition of the Christmas Pudding includes (but not limited to):


·         A Christmas Pudding is traditionally made with 13 ingredients representing Jesus and the 12 Disciples

·         The pudding is always stirred from East to West to honor the Wise Men who journeyed to see the baby Jesus.

·         Every member of the family stirs the pudding and makes a wish.

·         A coin was added to the ingredients and cooked in the pudding. It was thought to bring wealth to the person who found it on their plate on Christmas Day. Other symbols added to the pudding included a ring to foretell a marriage, or a thimble of good luck.


Check back this weekend. I’m off to scout out a recipe for a fantastic Christmas Pudding!

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2 Responses to Victorian Christmas Traditions – Stir Up Sunday

  1. Erica Vetsch says:

    I love this! Thank you for posting it. I wonder what a month old pudding tasted like. 😀

  2. LOL, Erica. Do you REALLY want to find out what month old pudding tasted like?