Meta: A review of Christmas traditions in Ireland.
The home of the four-leafed clover, the leprechaun and of course, St Patrick’s Day is synonymous around the world for having a deep love of a good party and beer. One of the biggest beer consuming nations in the world, the Irish have been known to drink 131.1 liters of beer per year and the Irish are also able to boast one of the highest rates of church attendance globally, hence it’s no wonder that they can boast some amazing Christmas traditions. However it should also be noted that the ancient festival of Samhain in Irelandis now recognized as the origin festival for Halloween.
Ireland is mostly Catholic in affiliation and shares many of its Christmas traditions with its neighbors of England and Scotland, however one particularly interesting tradition is that a large candlestick may be left out all through the night on Christmas Eve so as to guide Mary and Joseph on the way to the manger, or that’s the story behind the custom.
Now while the rest of the world may be out celebrating Boxing Day on the 26th of December, the Irish prefer to refer the day after Christmas as St Stephen’s Day. Although they too like to spend it watching sports, spending time with loved ones and relaxing before the hustle and bustle gets back into its full swing.
One tradition that has almost faded into total obscurity is known as the Wren Boy’s Procession and is supposed to take place on the 26th of December. This dates back to early times when a wren – which is a small bird – would be hunted and killed, then the birds carcass would be mounted within a holly wreath and paraded throughout the town on a long pole.
In keeping with modern standards, no actual bird is harmed within the process of the procession instead adults and children alike choose to dress up as wrens and people often like to ask for monetary donations in order to feed the wren. However, whether or not this actually works remains to be seen, perhaps you should try it on your next trip to Ireland?
Some places that are still likely to carry on with the tradition of the Wren Boy’s Procession include counties such as County Kerry and Dingle, although this particular tradition is facing a dire lack of support at the moment.
Now for any women who has had to spend the whole of Christmas and New Year, cooking, entertaining and preparing an exciting holiday assortment of activities for her family, the idea of having a day in which somebody else does all of the cooking and more importantly, washing up sounds heavenly. Well, the Irish saw fit to make such a thing happen.
Women’s Christmasor the Feast of the Epiphany takes place on the 6th of January and all the men of the household serve and spoil women for the day. Sadly, this tradition is not as commonplace as it once was, however there is nothing to say that you can’t attempt to bring this tradition alive in your own household this festive season.
For all your holiday information and more visit SirHoliday, today.
Candle in window link:
Wren boys link:
Comments will be approved before showing up.