Why is the Sixpence placed in Wedding Shoes and Christmas Puddings? Today we will explore some of the top questions surrounding the Sixpence coin, uncover the stories and traditions behind this tiny yet iconic coin.
1. What is a Sixpence Coin?
The Sixpence was once widely circulated in the United Kingdom and its former colonies. Worth 2.5p, it remained in circulation until 1980. The coin’s design and composition have evolved over the centuries, reflecting the changing faces of monarchs and the artistic trends of each era.
2. Why is the Sixpence Coin Associated with Weddings?
One of the most enduring traditions involving the Sixpence coin is its association with weddings. For many years, the father of the bride would slip a Sixpence into his daughter’s shoe before she walked down the aisle. The Sixpence stood for good luck, and to show that the father wished his daughter prosperity in her marriage.
3. What is the Meaning Behind the Rhyme “Something Old, Something New, Something Borrowed, Something Blue, and a Silver Sixpence in Her Shoe”?
This famous wedding rhyme includes a set of superstitions and customs believed to bring good luck to the bride on her wedding day. The inclusion of a Sixpence in her shoe represents wealth and financial prosperity in the marriage.
4. What is the Sixpence Christmas Tradition?
Beyond weddings and everyday circulation, the Sixpence coin has found its way into another cherished tradition – Christmas puddings. Dating back to Victorian England, it became a popular custom to include a silver coin in the mixture when preparing the Christmas pudding. The thought behind this was not only to add a bit of festive surprise but also to give luck and prosperity to the person fortunate enough to find the coin in their serving of Christmas pudding.
5. Are Sixpence Coins Still in Circulation?
In the United Kingdom, Sixpence coins ceased to be legal tender in 1980. However, these coins are still cherished by collectors and are often found in antique markets and online auctions. The historical value and unique designs of these coins make them sought-after items for all collectors.
Did you know that, traditionally, the Christmas pudding mixture is stirred from East to West in homage to the three wise men?
This is just one of the traditions unique to the Christmas pudding, which is as steeped in history as it is brandy!
Christmas puddings are traditionally made on Stir-up Sunday – and with this year’s taking place on 21st November you’ll want to read on to find out how to make your Christmas pudding extra special.
Stir-up Sunday falls on the last Sunday before the Christian Advent begins – that’s 4 weeks before Christmas Day. The term ‘Stir-up Sunday’ originates from the Anglican Book of Common Prayer: ‘Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people.’
So, why is the Christmas pudding whipped up long before the big day? Well, the idea is that enough time will pass for the pudding to mature and for the spices to infuse – yummy!
Making a Christmas pudding can be hard work, and during the Victorian era the whole family would get involved. While stirring the mixture of fruit, flour, brandy and spices, each family member would make a wish.
Some families threw a piece of silver – traditionally a sixpence – into the mix, which is thought to bring luck and wealth to whoever received it on Christmas Day.
Perhaps this is something you’d like to try with your family this year. Let us know in the comments if you’ll be participating in Stir-up Sunday and what you’d wish for.
If you’re interested…
Honour this quintessentially British tradition with our special Christmas Sixpence Frame with a brand new frame design.
The Christmas countdown has started early here at the Westminster Collection.
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And in my latest video, I tell you why you NEED to add them to your collection this festive season…