La fête de Sainte Barbe is celebrated on December 4th in Provence. Each December 4th,
people put some wheat or grass seeds in a saucer. If the plants grow straight and tall by Christmas, they will have a good
harvest in the New Year.
Barbe, or Barbara, lived in the Middle East in the 3rd century. She was the daughter of King Dioscore.
He loved his daughter so much that he built a tower for her to live in to keep her away from men and dangerous influences.
King Dioscore went away to war, and while he was gone, Barbe converted to Christianity. When her dad found
out, he was furious! He tortured his daughter terribly to try and make her repent. When she would not change her religion,
the king took her to a mountaintop and cut off Barbe’s head. Suddenly, a bolt of lightning struck and killed King Dioscore.
In Provence, whenever there is a lightning storm, people toss Sainte Barbe’s seeds in the fireplace
to protect their homes from lightning strikes. Sainte Barbe is known as the patron saint of Firefighters.