Today, Nollaig na mBan (Women’s Christmas) is celebrated in Ireland to mark the end of the 12 Days of Christmas. It’s a day when the women of Ireland supposedly take a much-needed rest after cooking, cleaning and entertaining over the holidays.
Mostly celebrated in the West of Ireland, women gather in each other’s homes and local pubs, singing and dancing and storytelling (and some drinking too!) to celebrate this special day.
I’m also told by my sister Maeve that Nollaig na mBan is hugely celebrated in Cork City with a multitude of women-only events planned … the only man allowed in is the Bishop, to bless the women of Cork! Tickets sell out well in advance.
I spotted this photo in social media this morning, inviting the women of Inis Oirr, Aran Island to “Tae Trathnona in aice an tine mona”, at 2pm today. That would mean having ‘Afternoon Tea next to the turf fire” in case your Gaeilge is not up to speed.
If you are in the vicinity, you know where the craic is at. And by ‘craic’ I mean fun and hilarity, not crack of the powdery kind.
Nollaig na mBan happens to be the day all the Christmas decorations come down and get put away for the following year. And it’s usually done by the women of the house. I don’t know about you but personally, I wouldn’t call that taking a rest, would you??
Given we are living in a global world, let’s take the spirit of Nollaig na mBan a step further and not limit this special day to the women of Ireland.
I ask you at some stage today, take the time to appreciate all the heart-beautiful women you are lucky enough to have in your lives.
Shona Nollaig na mBan Daoibhse go Leir
Happy Women’s Christmas to you all
And by the way, January 6th is also known as the Feast of Epiphany. It is said to be the day the Three Wise Men arrived in Bethlehem at the stable of Jesus to offer him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.
I know January 6th is the date of their arrival only because it was a tradition in our family to start the Three Wise Men’s long journey in our drawing room well before Christmas. Every day, my youngest sister Sinead, would inch them along towards the hall where the crib (handmade by my grandfather) was set up for Christmas.
The Three Wise Men finally arrived on January 6th to very little pomp and ceremony in our house. Us kids had already left Christmas behind by then and had moved on to the next big thing, the reprieve before having to give up chocolate & crisps for Lent!