Stir-up Sunday is traditionally the day in Britain for making the Christmas pudding, the name coming from the opening words of the collect for the day in the Book of Common Prayer 1549: "Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people". It is the last Sunday before Advent, tomorrow.
Apparently the tradition of making a pudding has been dying out, with two thirds of children never having stirred a pudding. So there are moves afoot by celebrity chefs to rekindle the traditions surrounding it.
We have followed this tradition at home wherever we have lived (sometimes finding the ingredients was harder than others, and as a result it wasn't always mixed right on time). I can well remember my grandmother letting us stir the mixture and make a wish, every day for a week, before its first cooking.
The first recipes included meat, prunes and wine, not unlike the original mincemeat recipes. Apparently Oliver Cromwell banned Christmas puddings as being "a lewd custom inappropriate for people who followed God". Nowadays they don't contain meat, but may have shredded beef suet along with with nuts and dried fruit. It used to be, and still sometimes is, known as plum pudding or even plum duff.
Our family recipe has been changed and adapted over the years, as all the best family recipes do. It uses butter instead of suet, no flour at all, plus whiskey and stout. I can't help feeling the latter two are an Irish influence. The latest change has been to say that anyone tasting the mixture at the same time as making a wish will forfeit the wish. That particular adaptation was the result of certain small boys growing up in the family. Tasting became more and more "generous" as the boys grew up!
Our family recipe is here for anyone interested.