A fine Irish holday season to you...
Please enjoy our best holiday wishes, and this list of our
Irish Christmas traditions.
Irish Christmas Proverb: “If Candlemas is wet or foul, half the
winter has gone at Yule. If Candlemas is fine and fair, half the winter is
to come and more."
For fun Irish Quotes
Ireland Fun Facts:
A Christmas Whitewashing
Around Christmastime, you’ll still find
the odd farm building out in the Irish countryside that looks like it’s just been
whitewashed. Long ago, farm families cleaned and then whitewashed
every building on the farm in December. They were all covered in white paint
or limewash, to symbolically purify them for the coming of the savior. The
tradition traces back thousands of years, not just through Celtic culture,
but through other Central European cultures.
Before Christmas Trees
Having an evergreen-type Christmas tree
is a relatively new phenomenon in Ireland. Years ago, whole families went
out to find holly bushes and ivy to decorate the mantelpiece and other parts
of the house. Finding a holly bush with lots of berries was considered a
harbinger of good luck in the coming year. Holly was also used because it allowed poor people could decorate their homes
in the same way as those who were better off. The bush was so common in Ireland in winter there was plenty for everyone.
It’s considered bad luck to take down holiday decorations before
“Little Christmas” on December 6th (see article below).
A Welcoming Candle
A Christmas candle in the window, still popular
not just in Ireland but here in the US, was long displayed as a symbol of
hospitality (though Ireland never had a rule quite as strident as Scotland’s
“first footing,” the New Year’s tradition dictating that one had to take in
and lavishly entertain the very first person to enter one’s home after
midnight). Window candles in Ireland were a symbol that the homeowner would
welcome the Holy Family – unlike the inn keeper in Bethlehem who bore the
guilt of having turned them away. During times of intolerance for
Catholicism in Ireland, window candles also were meant to announce that it was
safe to say mass in a home.
Leaving a mince pie and a bottle of Guinness out on Christmas Eve was
once popular in Ireland. It was meant to be a snack for Santa Claus.
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Ancient Celts believed that mistletoe had tremendous healing powers.
Christians saw it as such a strong symbol of paganism, in fact, that they
banned it until the so-called “revival of Christmas” in the Victorian era.
On December 8th, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, virtually all
schools in Ireland are closed for the day.
Pantomimes are still performed by small groups of amateurs and
professional actors alike in the days following Christmas. Irish “pantos” are
humorous productions of Cinderella, Snow White and other familiar
fairytales. In them, men frequently play the part of women and vice versa.
Generally, there’s a great deal of singing and dancing, with jokes
making fun of eminent politicians or celebrities thrown in.
Ireland's traditional "girls' night out is still
observed by some dedicated ladies.
The fashion for light eating hasn't dimished Ireland's
love of this cholesterol-mad dessert one bit. Recipe included.
for tons of Ireland fun facts.
That's all for the moment! Until next time, let me know if you've got a
story to tell about Ireland at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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