One of our favourite things about the festive season is the number of traditions and customs that we follow and, for us, no Christmas Day can be complete without a traditional Christmas pudding with it’s hidden silver charms. 

The elves at our London workshop have been busily finishing this season’s production of Christmas pudding charms.  So, if you’re looking to buy traditional silver charms for your Christmas pudding, please visit us at:https://www.silvercelebrationslondon.com/uk/category/christmas-gifts/

We’d also like to take this opportunity to delve into the fascinating origins of the Christmas pudding and all the symbolic traditions that surround it,  and to share the significance and meaning of the lucky charms with you.

We hope that you enjoy this article and share it with your friends.

What is Christmas pudding? 

The Christmas pudding (also known as Plum Pudding) is a rich and tasty British Christmas dessert.  It is made from a mixture of dried fruits, nuts and citrus zest, bound together with suet, breadcrumbs and eggs, dashed with spices and soaked in brandy.  The mixture is poured into a pudding basin, which can be made of anodized aluminium, plastic or ceramic, steamed for up to 8 hours and then stored in a cupboard for several weeks before Christmas to allow the flavours to develop.

Our favourite pudding basin is the classic Mason Cash white ceramic bowl but you may prefer to make a traditional round pudding in a Silverwood aluminium mould.  https://www.masoncash.co.uk, https://www.silverwood-bakeware.com

The History of the Christmas Pudding

The origins of the Christmas pudding can be traced back to a 14th century savoury dish called ‘frumenty’, which had a porridge like consistency and was made with beef, mutton, raisins, currants, prunes, beer, wine and spices.

By the 17th century other ingredients such as eggs and breadcrumbs had been added to the recipe and it took on a more solid appearance and began to resemble the Christmas puddings that we know today.

It was during the reign of Queen Victoria, in the 19th century, that Christmas really came to life.  The Victorians  introduced many of the Christmas traditions that we still celebrate today, such as; Santa Claus, a two day holiday and the custom of decorating  a Christmas tree.  They added other traditions such as card sending, gift giving, Christmas carols and even Christmas crackers!  The Christmas meal would have included a turkey or goose and Christmas pudding became a fashionable dessert.

Links to the Commonwealth

With the expansion of the British Empire, British customs spread to all four corners of the world. Early colonial settlers, anxious to recreate something of home in unfamiliar conditions, brought their Christmas pudding recipes to Australia, New Zealand and Canada, where it is still a popular choice on Christmas Day.

Christmas Pudding Traditions

The making of the pudding holds many symbolic traditions.  The recipe should contain thirteen ingredients, to represent Jesus and his twelve disciples.

It is traditional to make the Christmas pudding on ‘Stir Up Sunday’ (the last Sunday before Advent) which takes its name from the opening words of the Book Of Common Prayer: “Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people,”.

‘Stir Up Sunday’ therefore became the day for the family gather together and take turns to stir the pudding mixture from East to West to honour the journey of the Magi. Each member of the family would be given three stirs and with each stir they would make a wish. Out of the three wishes, it was told that one would be granted.

Stirring a silver coin (usually a sixpence) and other lucky charms into the pudding mixture is another age-old custom that is said to bring blessings to the person who finds one in their serving.

Silver is the metal of the moon and thought to bring great fortune and to be instrumental in foretelling the future, therefore the charms in Christmas puddings are traditionally made of silver.  Here are some charms and their special meaning:

  • A coin for prosperity in the year ahead
  • A wishbone grants a wish
  • A horseshoe will bring good luck
  • A thimble represents thrift but can also predict spinsterhood
  • A bell for betrothal
  • A batchelor’s button is lucky for a man
  • An anchor for safe harbourWhen the pudding is served on Christmas Day it is topped off with  a sprig of holly to represent Jesus’s crown of thorns.  Brandy is poured on the pudding and set alight to form a halo of flames which represents Christ’s passion. With the lights turned off, so that guests can see the flames, the pudding is proudly brought to the table.