Merry Christmas everyone. Here is a recycled Christmas blog to put you in the spirit of the season.
Nollaig Shona Duit is Gaelic for Happy Christmas. Here are some of the Irish Christmas traditions, information available from www.ireland-information.com.
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 suppressed and it is perhaps because of this they have survived into modern times
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 a 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 named name Mary.
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 ofthe welcome.
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.
Vicki Gilhula is the managing editor of Sudbury Living Magazine