Countdown to Christmas --
  1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

This site uses "cookies". When you use My Merry Christmas we leave a cookie on you computer to remember your preferences and to improve your site experience. These cookies are NOT set for the purposes of collecting data of any kind. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

Christmas in Ireland

Discussion in 'Christmas Around the World' started by irishsnow, Apr 6, 2011.



  1. irishsnow

    irishsnow Dang Near Santa Himself MMC Lifer

  2. irishsnow

    irishsnow Dang Near Santa Himself MMC Lifer

  3. Mumof2

    Mumof2 One Happy lil Elf MMC Lifer

    Great Video's,thanks for sharing. :)
     
  4. sgrenoble

    sgrenoble Elf Supervisor MMC Lifer Christmas.com Alum

    Thank you very much for sharing these. They were wonderful.
     
  5. irishsnow

    irishsnow Dang Near Santa Himself MMC Lifer

    Irish Christmas Traditions


    IRISH CHRISTMAS TRADITIONS

    Ireland, like most countries, has a number of Christmas traditions that are all of its own. Many of these customs have their root in the time when the Gaelic culture and religion of the country were being supressed and it is perhaps because of that they have survived into modern times.

    THE CANDLE IN THE WINDOW


    The placing of a lighted candle in the window of a house on Christmas eve is still practised today. It has a number of purposes but primarily it was an symbol of welcome to Mary and Joseph as they travelled looking for shelter.

    The candle also indicated a safe place for priests to perform mass as, during Penal Times this was not allowed.

    A further element of the tradition is that the candle should be lit by the youngest member of the household and only be extinguished by a girl bearing the name 'Mary'.

    THE LADEN TABLE

    After evening meal on Christmas eve the kitchen table was again set and on it were placed a loaf of bread filled with caraway seeds and raisins, a pitcher of milk and a large lit candle. The door to the house was left unlatched so that Mary and Joseph, or any wandering traveller, could avail of the welcome.

    THE WREN BOY PROCESSION


    During Penal Times there was once a plot in a vilage against the local soldiers. They were surrounded and were about to be ambushed when a group of wrens pecked on their drums and awakened the soldiers. The plot failed and the wren became known as 'The Devil's bird'.

    On St. Stephens day a procession takes place where a pole with a holly bush is carried from house to house and families dress up in old clothes and with blackened faces. In olden times an actual wren would be killed and placed on top of the pole.

    This custom has to a large degree disappeared but the tradition of visiting from house to house on St. Stephens Day has survived and is very much part of Christmas.

    DECORATIONS:

    The placing of a ring of Holly on doors originated in Ireland as Holly was one of the main plants that flourished at Christmas time and which gave the poor ample means with which to decorate their dwellings.

    All decorations are traditionally taken down on Little Christmas (January 6th.) and it is considered to be bad luck to take them down beforehand.

    TRADITIONAL GAELIC SALUTATION


    The Gaelic greeting for 'Merry Christmas' is:
    'Nollaig Shona Duit'
    ......which is pronounced as 'null-ig hun-a dit'.

    HAPPY CHRISTMAS!


    Irish Christmas Traditions - An article provided by The Information about Ireland Site.
     
  6. caninemom3

    caninemom3 MMC Christmas Angel (1954 - 2013) MMC Lifer MMC Emeritus Member

    Thank You So Much, Irish Snow !!! What lovely traditions !!! :tree:
     
    1 person likes this.
  7. irishsnow

    irishsnow Dang Near Santa Himself MMC Lifer

    Thank you
     
    1 person likes this.
  8. trackrebel

    trackrebel candy cane hustla MMC Lifer

    great vids and great read about the traditions.....I think the light in the window tradition is done in a few parts of Germany as well! beautiful!!!
     
    1 person likes this.
  9. ClaireLovesChristmas

    ClaireLovesChristmas Christmasologist MMC Lifer

    Thanks for sharing!:tree:
     
    2 people like this.
  10. JeanetteDi

    JeanetteDi Christmas Decoration Expert Merry Forums Member

    Great videos and a lovely explanation of traditions!

    I'm curious though. What happens if there is no girl named Mary in your family to extinguish the candle in the window? Does it merely burn down without extinguishing?
     
    1 person likes this.
  11. irishsnow

    irishsnow Dang Near Santa Himself MMC Lifer


    These traditions are hundreds of years old and after time they change. I have never known about having a Mary put out the candle until reading it here. We still light a candle in the window every Christmas Eve like most people do but its normally me that puts it out before bedtime
     
    1 person likes this.
  12. usafvet

    usafvet Merry Forums Elf, 3rd Class MMC Lifer

    I've always been fascinated with Irish Christmas traditions. My wife and I would like to visit Ireland during Christmas time at some point...probably when the kids are much older or even out of the house. Until then, I just listen to Christmas FM on my Iphone, which is a radio station I'm sure you're familiar with.
     
    1 person likes this.
  13. irishsnow

    irishsnow Dang Near Santa Himself MMC Lifer


    The Christmas Candle burning in the window to welcome baby Jesus into the world on Christmas Eve

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    2 people like this.
  14. JeanetteDi

    JeanetteDi Christmas Decoration Expert Merry Forums Member

    Gorgeous!
     
    1 person likes this.
  15. shellie12

    shellie12 North Pole Resident MMC Lifer

     
    1 person likes this.
  16. irishsnow

    irishsnow Dang Near Santa Himself MMC Lifer

    Traditionally the Christmas season begins on 8 December in Ireland and lasts until 6 January. Christmas is a wonderful time to be in Ireland.

    In Ireland there is still a deeper sense of the meaning of the season here. As you walk through the streets of cities like Cork you may hear choirs large and small singing on the sidewalks, street musicians with flutes, harps, violins or guitars playing the strains of familiar carols or favourite Christmas recordings wafting from the shops.While few private homes decorate outside beyond the festive wreath on the door, the towns, cities and shops go all out. The Christmas season doesn't really get into full swing in Ireland until December when streets are lined with lit decorations and live Christmas trees are often mounted like flag staffs from building fronts. Larger department stores and shops fill their windows with animated scenes and figures.

    Gifts for friends and from family members to each other pile up under the Christmas tree in the days before Christmas and as everywhere a lot of squeezing, shaking and guessing goes on, but in the back of everyone's mind is what Santa will bring on Christmas morning. And there is no peeking or opening any gifts until Christmas morning!



    Santa Claus is a very popular fellow in Ireland too. He and his helpers can be found arriving at many malls and department stores by helicopter or fire engine to take Christmas wish lists or for the very lucky children a trip to visit his workshop in Lapland (the North Pole) can be arranged!



    In Ireland Santa works a little differently than in the states. Instead of leaving everything under the tree he leaves each child's gifts in their room, often in a pillow case at the end of the bed, though sometimes a large gift may be left unwrapped under the tree. Christmas stockings are a tradition with some families and are hung Christmas Eve for Santa to fill. He arrives quite late as Midnight Mass on Christmas eve is still a strong tradition for many families and the chimney is his main entrance into most homes.


    As with holiday traditions everywhere, food plays a big part of celebration in Ireland and, just like else where, there is some variation from family to family. A fairly traditional menu for Christmas dinner includes either a Goose or Turkey with stuffing (usually a sage and onion type), ham, roasted and boiled potatoes (Irish meals often include potatoes prepared several ways), brussel sprouts, carrots, califlower, parsnips and any other family favourites, followed by Christmas cake or a Christmas pudding. A favourite treat throughout the Christmas season are small mincemeat pies (in the states because of the size they would probably be called tarts). Candy canes are not very popular in Ireland nor wide spread but tons of chocolates is a must for Christmas.

    Ireland, like most countries, has a number of Christmas traditions that are all of its own. Many of these customs have their root in the time when the Gaelic culture and religion of the country were being supressed and it is perhaps because of that they have survived into modern times.



    TheTwelve Days of Christmas
    This old and beloved carol is Ireland's very own. During the centuries when it was a crime to be Catholic and to practice one's faith, in public or private, in Ireland and England "The Twelve Days of Christmas" was written as a "catechism song" to help young Catholics learn the beliefs of their faith. It was a memory aid when being caught with anything in writing indicating adherence to the Catholic faith could not only get you imprisoned, it could get you hung.
    The songs gifts are hidden meanings to the teachings of the faith. The "true love" mentioned in the song doesn't refer to an earthly suitor, it refers to God himself. The "me" who receives the presents refers to every baptized person.

    • A Partridge in a pear tree - Jesus Christ, the son of God.
    • Two turtle doves - The Old and New Testaments
    • Three french hens - Faith, Hope and Charity, the theological virtues.
    • Four calling birds - The four Gospels and/or the four Evangelists.
    • Five golden rings - The first five books of the Old Testament (The Pentateuch).
    • Six geese a-laying - Six days of creation.
    • Seven swans a swimming - The seven gifts of the Holy Spirit, the seven Sacraments.
    • Eight maids a-milking - The eight Beatitudes.
    • Nine ladies dancing - The nine Fruits of the Holy Spirit (sometimes also listed as the nine classifications of angels).
    • Ten lords a-leaping - The Ten Commandments.
    • Eleven pipers pipering - The eleven faithful apostles.
    • Twelve drummers drumming - The twelve points of doctrine in the Apostle's Creed.
    The Candle in the Window
    The placing of a lighted candle in the window of a house on Christmas eve is still practised today. It has a number of purposes but primarily it was an symbol of welcome to Mary and Joseph as they travelled looking for shelter. The candle also indicated a safe place for priests to perform mass as, during Penal Times this was not allowed. A further element of the tradition is that the candle should be lit by the youngest member of the household and only be extinguished by a girl bearing the name 'Mary'.



    The Laden Table
    After evening meal on Christmas eve the kitchen table was again set and on it were placed a loaf of bread filled with caraway seeds and raisins, a pitcher of milk and a large lit candle. The door to the house was left unlatched so that Mary and Joseph, or any wandering traveller, could avail of the welcome.



    Decorations:
    The placing of a ring of Holly on doors originated in Ireland as Holly was one of the main plants that flourished at Christmas time and which gave the poor ample means with which to decorate their dwellings. All decorations are traditionally taken down on Little Christmas (January 6th.) and it is considered to be bad luck to take them down beforehand.



    http://www.irelandnow.com/christmas.html
     
  17. Festive Spirit

    Festive Spirit Christmas Royalty MMC Lifer

    Irishsnow , I really enjoyed reading this !!!
     
  18. irishsnow

    irishsnow Dang Near Santa Himself MMC Lifer

    Nollaig Na MBan – A Quiet Irish Tradition

    Today is Little Christmas, Nollaig na mBan, Women's Christmas, or the Feast of the Epiphany, depending on where you are. The 6th of January is the last of the twelve days, the traditional marker for the end of Christmas. In the Eastern Church, Christmas is celebrated on this day. In the western church it is known as the day on which the three wise men arrived at the manger where Jesus in his swaddling clothes was waiting patiently for them with Joseph and Mary.

    Nollaig na mBan is a particularly Irish, mainly rural tradition that is still held strongly in Cork and Kerry. It is experiencing a revival lately, as the day is being used to celebrate all the great things for which we have women to thank. Traditionally, people would take down the decorations and eat up any leftover food from the holidays.

    It was also a day on which women were supposed to have a holiday from the drudgery of housework. In theory, men would do the cooking, but in reality it was probably cold meat or soup heated over the fire for supper, as not many rural Irish men were cooks in those days. Indeed as the author behind the Web Wise Woman blog has written, “like many men of his era, my father didn’t know one end of a broom from the other and boiling a kettle was the peak of his culinary skill.”

    She tells of how in her youth, Nollaig na Mban was a very important occasion for all the females of the family. Women would gather together before a blazing fire in the parlour and men would be banned from the room. Sisters, mothers, daughters, aunts and friends would spend the day together drinking tea and eating fancy biscuits, swapping stories and bantering. Discussions would be had that were impossible with males present, about lost babies, lost loves and other secret things.

    Cigarettes and pipes were smoked and drinks like sherry, cream liquors and wine were joyously imbibed. Songs were sung and maybe a dance or two was given. Then to finish, a few prayers, to Gobnait perhaps, to Brigid and to Mary. Today it is common in the south for women to go out together for a meal and maybe a drink or two, while the men mind the children and stoke the fire.

    A sense of the carnival spirit was associated with January 6, even in heathen lands where they never offered their women so much as a holiday. In England during the time of Shakespeare, servants would dress up as their masters for Twelfth Night, or vice versa, while a Lord of Misrule would orchestrate proceedings, calling for songs, mummery and other entertainment.

    Shakespeare crafted his comic play of 1601, Twelfth Night or As You Will, to echo the frivolous way in which the feast day of the Epiphany was regarded at that time. It is a love story and it contains much of the kind of foolery that had become popularly associated with the last day of Christmas.

    Ireland's dedication of this day to women is unique and mysterious. Many people believe that Nollaig na mBan is a remnant of an ancient pagan religious festival, which had a mother goddess at its core. Respect for the female certainly is rather reminiscent of Celtic civilisation, which did not discriminate between the sexes. In Ireland, a respect for female druids persisted long after Christianity arrived here. Scholars have noticed that the early Christian writers were very hard on these priestesses and lambasted them mercilessly. Monks used their writing as a tool, and they edited myths and sagas to paint the female druids in a bad light.

    But in typical Irish fashion, the folk tradition prevailed and we always had strong female role models to inspire girls to be strong and sharp. From Brigid and Gobnait, we have examples of women who attained high office in the early church. In later years their stories inspired many girls to follow their star, though as the church grew stronger its patriarchal instincts took over.

    Only recently have women been accessing equal rights in our society and the process is ongoing. Nollaig na mBan is a ancient symbol of the power of womanhood and it may be hoped that its revival continues long into a just and equal future.
     
  19. Petronius

    Petronius Ornament Craftsman Merry Forums Member

    Paddywagon Tours

     
  20. Solice

    Solice Christmas Royalty MMC Lifer

    Thank you for sharing Irishsnow, loved to read this
    I especially liked The candle in the window ❤️

    I never been to Ireland during Christmas
    But we celebrated St Patricks Day in Dublin one time
    That was fun!!
     
    irishsnow likes this.

Share This Page