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The legend of St Barbara

Winter | Winter highlights | South Tyrol

Who actually was…

… St Barbara?

Do you know the legend of Saint Barbara?

On 4 December, we celebrate the day of St Barbara, who lived in what is now Turkey in around 300 AD. According to legend, her father prevented her from converting to the Christian faith, so she did so in secret. Barbara’s father wanted to marry her to a very wealthy man, thinking that it would increase his own family fortunes. Upon learning this, Barbara ran away and hid in a tower. A shepherd boy betrayed her, and she was captured. On the way to prison, it’s said that a branch from a tree had got stuck to her, and Barbara then placed this branch in a vase of water. Legend has it that this branch blossomed on the very day she was executed. Even today, we put a St Barbara branch – sour cherry, apple, pear, plum, lilac, or cherry branches are best suited – into a container of water on 4 December, which is supposed to bloom on Christmas Day. St Barbara is considered, among other things, the patroness of miners, firefighters, and tower watchmen. At the beginning of the 20th century, children in some parts of Germany would put out a shoe on St Barbara’s Day, which was then filled with sweets and fruit. Here in South Tyrol, your family holidays at the Familienhotels Südtirol – enchanting Dolomites hotels – are always full of exciting facts and history!

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The legend of St Barbara
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She sells seashells by the seashore …