Posted by: mdmusingsie | January 6, 2012

Little Christmas

This day has many names. It is the twelfth day of Christmas, Twelfth Night and Epiphany. In Ireland it’s called Nollaig Bheag (little Christmas) and also Nollaig na mBan or Women’s Christmas.

It is a day when the decorations finally come down (if they haven’t already), and the women can finally have their own little celebration after doing the cooking, cleaning, shopping, etc. for the big family Christmas. Men are supposed to take the reins for the day and do the chores while the women gather to finally relax and have a little party for themselves.

From what I’ve read, although the men were supposed to do the cooking and cleaning that day, it was more of an ideal than an actual practice. However, after seeing to the family the women would gather and have a little private celebration. Children were encouraged to give small gifts to their mothers on this day, as well.

Here’s an interesting blog post describing the traditional activities for the day.

The tradition still continues, though maybe not in the same way or even on the same scale, but I did hear of women gathering in the pubs to have an evening of festivities just for them. It’s a bit sad, when you think of it, that they only get one day a year, but we’ll take it, nonetheless.

A great tradition that will hopefully survive in Ireland and maybe even renew itself in communities around the world.


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