How Christmas is celebrated in Ireland (Topic)

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How Christmas is celebrated in Ireland

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It is unlikely that in modern Europe there is another country like Ireland, where the attitude to Christmas and preparation for the holiday is so important. Some holiday traditions in Ireland have been honored for several centuries, which can cause great admiration among tourists who come here on Christmas Eve.

However, guests of Ireland may not receive a proper holiday. Christmas is a family celebration here, and Dublin, like other large cities, is noticeably empty by the evening of December 24th. Most of the residents are spreading over family"nests", which, most often, are located in the provinces.

Nevertheless, if a foreigner managed to get to one of these celebrations, he would be quite surprised at how warm and welcoming indigenous Irish welcome guests on this bright holiday, and introduce him to all the centuries-old traditions.

Christmas in Dublin

data-mce-style="text-align: center;">Christmas in Dublin

It's worth mentioning that Ireland DOES NOT work on Christmas. Absolutely. All shops (99%), bars, cafes, public transport, restaurants, government agencies and taxis take the weekend from December 24 to 26. Everything that is needed for the celebration in Ireland is prepared in advance. The only place to go on Christmas Day in Ireland is church.

December 24

It is very important for Irish people to get their homes ready for Christmas. On the last working day before the celebration, they do the cleaning, clean out all the trash, wash the dishes, and put things in order in the garden. Further, the dwelling is decorated: a Christmas tree is placed, garlands, tinsel and toys are hung, holly branches are placed on fireplaces, and mistletoe are hung in doorways.

Families with children often use figurines of deer, snowmen, Santa Claus to decorate and other famous symbols of the holiday. Interestingly, in Ireland it is still customary to put 9 carrots under the Christmas tree - a treat for each of the reindeer from Santa's magic sleigh team.

An alternative to the tree in recent years in many Irish homes are home to mistletoe flowers as well as traditional holiday wreaths of holly, clover and lavender. This is explained by the careful attitude to nature and the catastrophic state of affairs with trees in some forestries. Cheerful Irish about this say that there are enough trees for everyone on the street, and it is not at all necessary to kill a living tree for the sake of a few days of the holiday.

Believers observe fasting for a month until the first rays of the first Christmas sun.

On Christmas Eve, December 24th, the younger member of the family lights a candle to symbolize the hospitality of the home. You need to put this candle next to the window overlooking the street so that all passers-by can see that good people live in this house. Extinguishing a candle flame before it burns out completely is the worst omen on Irish Christmas Eve. If the flame still needs to be extinguished, then a woman named Mary should do it.

Plum pudding is considered the main dish of the Christmas table. It consists of 13 ingredients that symbolize Christ with the disciples. The pudding is poured over brandy and set on fire, which should convey the suffering of Christ. In addition to pudding, there is poultry stuffed with potatoes and cranberry sauce (goose, turkey, duck), stewed Brussels sprouts with carrots, poultry soup with vegetables, ham pies and Irish stew.

Plum pudding is a traditional Christmas dish

data-mce-style="text-align: center;">Plum pudding is a traditional Christmas dish

The Irish drink mulled wine, Irish coffee and tea on this day. It is impossible to find a working pub on Christmas Eve - all entertainment venues on holidays are closed until the 27th, if not until the end of the year. Because of this, already a week before Christmas, it is simply impossible to find any alcohol on the shelves of Irish stores.

Important: Tourists who are accustomed to Christmas and New Year's fireworks in Ireland will not hear the familiar festive cannonade for the ears. Due to the special attitude towards terrorist acts, all fireworks, petards and other pyrotechnics in the country have been banned since 2010. Violation of the law faces a fine of 10   000 euros, or even jail time if someone is caught selling fireworks.

Before starting their Christmas dinner, the Irish go to the church closest to their house. Most often - with gifts, because it will be necessary to congratulate not only the priest, but also all the acquaintances who will come to the solemn service. People in Ireland are jealous of this - even a postman who brings letters to your home every week deserves a gift.

By the way, church services in Ireland in recent years have become a formality reminding many atheists that they live in a Catholic country ... On this occasion, there are some jokes in the country that even the most recent atheist will put on a clean sweater at least once a year and come to the temple.

After listening to the parting sermon, the Irish return home, congratulating all people on the way with the coming Merry Christmas. Coming out from the festive table, everyone sits down where they feel most comfortable, talks about the latest news and watches their favorite Christmas movies and TV shows. After that, according to Irish custom, it is customary to go to bed.

December 25

The morning of the first Christmas day in Ireland begins with the joyful cries of children who have opened their gifts. It is not customary to hand them over at night - it is imperative to get a good night's sleep, and not make noise, so as not to frighten the reindeer from Santa Claus's team. By the way, in this regard, Irish children are very prudent - they will definitely ask Santa not one, but three gifts, and in order to deserve them, they try to behave very well.

Well, and the adult Irish are in the morning 25 December-th is celebrated very harshly. The tradition of swimming in an icy river or in a cold winter sea is still relevant. to wash away all the sins that have accumulated over the past year. After such water procedures, it is imperative to warm up with Irish coffee - that very invigorating drink with cream and an added glass of pure whiskey.

Then again you need to gather at the family table to finish eating what is left of dinner. Those Irish fasting can eat turkey or other festive poultry with a clear conscience, not just plum pudding.

Important: December 25th is the peak of the holiday in all of Ireland. All trains, buses and even taxis literally stop - on the streets of cities you can see only the personal transport of those people who have not yet had time to drink on a festive night.

December 26

Saint Stephen's Day, or Stephen's, in Ireland, as in the rest of the Catholic world, celebrate December 26th. One of the first Christian martyrs is especially revered on the island, as is the legendary Patrick. True, the traditions of celebrating on the last official Christmas day off have long been mixed with pagan rites, which are still very strong in Ireland.

 Irish people celebrate St. Stephen's Day
Residents of Ireland celebrate St.   Stephen's Day

This day will remind someone of Halloween: mummed children walk the streets, mainly boys in chimney sweep outfits, with brushes in hand, knocking on the doors of houses, and singing Christmas carols demanding a treat or any amount of money in exchange for a ballpoint pen filled with"luck." The money collected on this day is donated by young people or their parents to charity funds.

Those Irish people who think they are too old for such fun usually stay at home, watch football, bet online. bookmakers at the races, or just walk around the city, meeting old friends.

It is also worth mentioning that Christmas sales begin on December 26, large retail chains discount 70-80% of the cost from all their goods.

December 31st

New Years in Ireland are celebrated occasionally - after all, the weekend is over, and more often than not December 31st and January 1 for an ordinary Irishman are the most ordinary working days, and the New Year itself comes down to evening gatherings with friends in a nearby pub with two or three glasses of whiskey maximum.

But, if this happens, and for the Irishman, New Year falls on the weekend - he will invite everyone who can physically be next to him on that day to the party. It is customary to do a lot of cleaning in the house and throw away all unnecessary trash, well, the celebration itself smoothly flows into the same pubs and streets next to them. If individual Irish people have a day off on January 1st, they will walk until the morning.

It is best to meet New Year's midnight on the square in front of the cathedral with a large clock. The weather at the end of December in Ireland is usually rainy, but it is warm outside - up to + 8 ° C, therefore, local residents gather in squares in a few hours, waiting for the clock to strike. If there is no square with a clock in a town or village, it doesn't matter - it will be replaced by the main clock of the nearest pub.

The Irish also have their own New Year's superstitions, left over from pagan times. In the first minutes of the New Year, it is imperative to drive away all evil spirits from your home. This must be done by knocking a dried piece of bread on the walls of the house, accompanying the knock with harsh cries or the universal prayer"Our Father."

January 6

A series of winter holidays in Ireland is ending 6 January-th of January, when Catholic Epiphany is celebrated, or as it is commonly called in the country - Little Christmas - Nollaig na mBan if in Irish. The holiday has another name - Women's Christmas.

The division of the celebration according to gender made it possible for Irish women to relax on this day and do absolutely nothing about the household - even at the stove on January 6, men are obliged to get up. Also, any man should visit his mother that day and make her some kind of gift, which makes Little Christmas quite an Irish Women's Day.

By the way, this is also a day off throughout Ireland, but for beautiful Irish women in pubs enjoy free treats and special rates on all drinks. The culprits of such celebrations, I must say, are actively using the privilege, and it is unrealistic to meet men in pubs.

As for the"farewell" to the holidays, it is on January 6th in Ireland that it is customary to remove trees and all other Christmas decorations.

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Topic: How Christmas is celebrated in Ireland.How Christmas is celebrated in Ireland

Author: Kelly Costine