Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Christmas in Ireland

Christmas in Ireland

is celebrated from December 24th

to the

Feast of Epiphany on January 6th.

This is a Christian holiday that celebrates

the arrival of the

Wise men who brought gifts to

Jesus at his birth.

This celebration is the oldest

of the Catholic church feasts.

January 6th is specifically known as

“Twelfth Day”.

Perhaps you know of a certain

Christmas song that talks about

the twelve days of Christmas?

The song

The Twelve Days of Christmas

is Ireland’s very own song.

In the old days when it was a crime to be a catholic,

this song was written as a way to help young

Catholic children remember their faith.

The words and pictures would be a

reminder of something

Biblical to the children.

A partridge in a pear tree- Jesus Christ, the son of God

Two turtle doves- Old and New Testaments

Three French hens- Faith, Hope, Charity

Four calling birds- The Four Gospels

Five Golden Rings- The first five books of the Bible


Six geese-a-laying- Six days of creation

Seven swans a swimming- The seven Catholic sacraments

Eight maids a milking- The eight Beatitudes

Nine ladies dancing- nine fruits of the Holy Spirit

Ten lords a leaping- The Ten Commandments

Eleven pipers piping- The eleven faithful apostles

Twelve drummers drumming- twelve points of doctrine

from the Apostle’s Creed

Using this picture, can you

remember all the meanings?

The Irish put a lighted candle in the window

to show that Mary and Joseph would have

been welcome in their home on the

night they needed shelter.

The youngest family member is to light

the candle and the only one who can blow it out

is a girl named ‘Mary’. This is most likely

why there are so many Irish lassies named Mary!

The Irish started the tradition

of hanging a holly wreath on the door.

Holly is a hearty plant that thrives on the

blustery island at Christmas time,

so it was common sense to use this plant for decorating.

Even the poor could decorate well at the holiday time

by using this plant.

These decorations are taken down on

January 6th, or Twelfth Day, and it is

thought to bring bad luck if you take them

down any earlier!

Candy canes are not part of the Irish Christmas.

Instead, and I think very wisely,


are a MUST!

Yeah for the Irish!

Santa Claus is very popular in Ireland

and most people agree that he goes to Ireland before he makes his stop in the United States.

I have watched him on the Santa Tracker and

I know this to be true!

He leaves his packages to the Irish children

a wee bit differently though.

He doesn’t leave presents under the tree, he leaves then in the child’s room, often in pillowcases at the end of their beds.

Almost every family goes to church at midnight on

Christmas Eve, and when they return home,

Santa has already been there!

Here is how you say

“Merry Christmas”

In Gaelic:

Nollaig (Christmas)

Shona (Happy)

Duit (to you)

Sounds like- null-ig hunna ditsh

Can you say it?


The Branch Family said...

Thanks for sharing about Christmas in Ireland. I plan to read your blog post to my children and it would be fun to have them learn the meanings behind the 12 days of Christmas song. This was all new to me. :)

Learning Life's Lessons Through Literature said...

I see that picture for the 12 days of Christmas is backwards on days 11 and 12. I didn't notice that until today. Oops.

Judy said...

Our youngest daughter, who is adopted, is mostly of Irish heritage so we were so excited to be able to read together about how Christmas is celebrated in Ireland. Thank you for sharing this with us!

swhite said...

I always liked that song,but never knew the true meaning.I think I just liked the idea of twelve days of gifts!