Christmas in Ireland
10 interesting Christmas facts from ACET
Christmas officially begins in Ireland on 8th December and most of us decorate our homes and put up our Christmas trees on the 8th.
Interesting fact: the use of evergreen trees is a relatively new decoration in Ireland as in the past we used holly and ivy to brighten up homes.
If you would like to wish someone Happy Christmas in Irish, it is ‘Nollaig Shona Duit’ (NO-lihg HO-nuh ghwich)
How about mistletoe? – Well, before it was used to steal kisses, the ancient Celts believed that mistletoe had powerful healing powers and may homes in Ireland now hang mistletoe in doorways to symbolise peace and goodwill
Another old custom is the placing of a candle in the window on Christmas Eve, a symbol to welcome strangers and to remember those who are far away from home. The little lights shining in windows gives a warm and welcoming feel when walking through a town.
Fancy a Winter Warmer? There are few drinks as delicious as a hot Irish whiskey which is made with whiskey, lemon, cloves and a touch of brown sugar or honey. It warms you up from the inside out. Traditionally, it is drunk through the coldest months of the year. And there’s nothing like the scent of cloves to get you in the Christmas spirit.
As well as turkey, we enjoy spiced beef, which is considered to be the ultimate Christmas dish in Ireland, and one that the people of Cork hold particularly close to their hearts. Spiced beef, cooked with sugar, spices and berries, dates back centuries to a time when it was a way of preserving the meat. Today, the tradition continues and claims its place on a dinner table at houses all over the island at Christmas time. You can pick up some legendary spiced beef at the very famous stall of Tom Durcan in Cork’s English Market.
Fancy a Christmas swim? Well, all over Ireland you will spot hundreds of brave souls taking to the sea in the spirit of Christmas. The Christmas Day swim takes place all over Ireland’s coastline, often for charity.
December 26th is a public holiday. In Northern Ireland, it is known as Boxing Day, while in the Republic of Ireland it is St Stephen’s Day.
After all the Christmas celebrations we have Women’s Little Christmas on January 6th which is officially the last day of Christmas. It’s traditionally the day when women avoid all housework, and the men of the house stay home, take down decorations (it’s bad luck if you don’t!) and prepare all the meals.