Women’s Christmas

Little Christmas, or Nollaig Bheag in Irish, is one of the traditional names in Ireland for January 6, more commonly known in the rest of the world as the Epiphany.

It is so called because it was, until the adoption of the Gregorian calendar, the day on which Christmas Day was celebrated. It is the traditional end of the Christmas season and the last day of the Christmas holidays for both primary and secondary schools in Ireland.  

“Nollaig na mBan” or “Little Women’s Christmas” is an old custom that’s still celebrated by women all over Ireland. It goes back to the days when large families were the norm. Men never lifted a finger in the house to help, and were never expected to. If a man washed the dishes, he would be called an “auld woman” by other men. No full blooded Irish man was prepared to risk that!

But each year, after the Christmas holiday, tired women finally got a break – for one day, at least. On January 6th (the same day as the Epiphany), men would take over of the housework, offering women a chance to go out to relax with each other. Most women will either hold parties or go out to celebrate the day with their friends, sisters, mothers, aunts etc. Bars and restaurants have a near 100 percent female clientele on this night. Children often buy presents for their mothers and grandmothers, and it closely resembles Mother’s Day in this respect.

Complied by Aine Deely and Denise Phair, Transition Year, Loreto College, Cavan (Ireland)

Advertisements

1 Comment »

  1. 1
    ludovicaclass1b Says:

    On the same day in Italy we celebrate La Befana,a typical beloved old woman who brings children many candies if they have been good during the year.

    La befana vien di notte
    Con le scarpe tutte rotte
    Col vestito alla romana
    Viva, Viva La Befana!

    The English translation is:

    La Befana comes by night
    With her shoes old and broken
    She comes dressed in the Roman way
    Long life to the Befana!

    La Befana is a character in Italian folklore. Please read our post on the blog section “CUSTOMS”


RSS Feed for this entry

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: