Since Christmas Eve is tomorrow, I thought perhaps that I should research some Irish Christmas traditions. Perhaps my parents had adopted some of these traditions and I did not realize that they were Irish in origin. I do remember many of our family’s Christmas traditions when I was a child, including attending midnight mass, opening our Christmas gifts on Christmas Eve and singing along to Mitch Miller Christmas record albums.
I found some great websites while conducting my research, including the following – Ireland-information.com , yourirish.com, irishcentral.com and blog.goireland.com. From my limited research, I concluded that we Americans share many of the same traditions as the Irish do with some noted exceptions.
A big Irish tradition is putting a lit candle in the window welcoming Mary and Joseph on their long journey. Placing a holly wreath (holly grows in Ireland) on the front door is another Irish tradition. The Irish also like to sing Christmas carols. Perhaps they are singing along to Mitch Miller?
I did find some Irish traditions that I definitely won’t be adopting , like jumping off the rocks into the Irish Sea on Christmas Day. Unless, it is a hot tub and warm outside, I won’t be participating! Wearing awful Christmas sweaters is also a tradition. I try to nip that one in the bud whenever I sort through my closet and get bags ready for Goodwill.
On the other hand, I did find some very promising traditions which I need to consider adopting. First, is serving of salmon or prawn cocktail as an appetizer on Christmas day since I love both of those foods. We typically eat prime rib (it is that Italian side of my husband’s family) but I could definitely eat stuffed turkey (in fact, stuffing is my absolute favorite part of Thanksgiving) with potatoes and vegetables. I have never tried plum pudding with brandy sauce but I am willing to give it a try. My kids, of course, would love the tradition of being offered a chocolate treat after dinner. They might want one for an appetizer too! My husband, on the other hand, thinks he has been cheated all these years since Santa at our house only received milk and cookies, not a bottle of Guinness and mincemeat pie.
Personally, I totally agree with the Irish custom of not taking down Christmas decorations until Little Christmas on Jan. 6th for fear of bad luck. I am wondering if I leave them up an additional week or two if I will have even better luck because I definitely need some! But my favorite tradition, which we will be adopting this coming year, is celebrating Women’s Christmas on Jan. 6. You may ask how you celebrate this wonderful day. It is very easy – women get the day off while the men do the housework, cooking and more importantly take down the Christmas decorations. That alone sounds like good luck to me!
In closing, I would like to wish you all a “Nollaig Shona Duit” – pronounced “null ig hun a dit” or “Merry Christmas”.