Christmas In Ireland
A St. Patrick ornament to symbolize the Irish Catholic faith.
Many Irish traditions are in honor of Mary and Joseph’s arrival into Bethlehem. In Irish homes, people put a tall thick candle on the sill of a large window after sunset Christmas Eve. It’s left to burn all night as a welcoming gift for the traveling pair.
After the evening meal on Christmas Eve, the kitchen table was reset and placed on it would be a loaf of bread filled with caraway seeds and raisins and a pitcher of milk . The door to the house is often left unlatched so that Mary and Joseph, or any wandering traveler, would be welcomed.
Holly is often placed on doors for decoration. That Irish tradition started because holly is a plan that really flourishes, so it gave the poor ample means to decorate as well.
The Feast of the Epiphany (January 6th) is also celebrated as ‘Nollaig na mBean’ or Women’s Christmas. Traditionally the women get the day off and the men do the housework and cooking! The women meet in each other’s homes to sew and chat. It is becoming more popular and many Irish women now get together on the Sunday nearest Epiphany, to have tea and cakes and enjoy each other’s company!
The Gaelic greeting for ‘Merry Christmas’ is:’Nollaig Shona Duit’……which is pronounced as ‘null-ig hun-a dit’.
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