Christmas is a special time for everyone all over the world; but in Ireland, it’s that little bit extra special. If you’re thinking of spending the festive season in Ireland, then this might just push you to book those flights!
Whether you are of Irish descent, or you just fancy immersing yourself in a fascinating culture for Christmas this year, here at Aran Crafts we’ve compiled just a few of the things that make Christmas in Ireland so spectacular.
Historically in Ireland, when it comes to Christmas decorations they only used holly and ivy for their homes. It was believed that the more berries on the holly bush, the more luck you would have in the coming year!
When it comes to Christmas trees, it’s only recently that evergreen trees have been introduced. And, long before mistletoe was used to steal kisses from a loved one, it was thought that mistletoe had special healing powers. It was also a symbol for paganism, but now it is hung in doorways to symbolise goodwill and peace.
All across Ireland, the day after Christmas Day is a public holiday just like in the UK. However, in Ireland it’s known as St. Stephen’s Day. If you’re in Ireland for this special day, then you’ll be witness to some longstanding traditions including the ‘wren boys’. There is often a procession to commemorate this tradition, including carolling.
In Ireland, Christmas is an event that lasts for nearly a month! Irish Christmas traditions usually begin on the first or second weekend of December, lasting until the 6th January. Otherwise known as the Feast of Epiphany, 6th January is traditionally when the decorations are taken down and the festivities finish. Any decorations still hanging after this date is considered bad luck!
6th January is also known as ‘women’s Christmas’ whereby the women have the day off and men do the cooking and cleaning!
Christmas Day Plunge
On Christmas Day, one of the most popular traditions is to brave the freezing cold sea and jump in! This is a growing event up and down the country whereby people engage in the big Christmas Day swim, sometimes even for charity. One of the most famous occurrences of this is at Forty Foot Rock just south of Dublin.
One of the most famous Christmas carols in Ireland is the Wexford Carol. It’s one of the oldest carols in Ireland, dating back to the 12th century. It’s still widely sung today as part of a traditional Irish Christmas, and has even been covered by the likes of Tom Jones and Julie Andrews!
So, if you want to experience a magical Christmas this year, get yourself to Ireland and don’t forget tot pack your Aran sweater to keep you warm throughout the festivities.