Nollaig na mBan: An Irish Christmas Tradition

Editor:

Today is Women’s Christmas or Nollaig na mBan in Ireland – a lovely tradition of female friendship and bonds.

Originally posted on Journeying Beyond Breast Cancer:

Image: rjnagle via Flickr

Today is the last of the twelve days of Christmas. Generally known as the Feast of the Epiphany  it also goes by the name of “Nollaig na mBan” or “Women’s Christmas” in Ireland.

This is an old Irish custom, which goes back to the days when large families were the norm and men were not expected to help out with the women’s chores in the house. Tradition had it that each year, after the hard work of the Christmas festivities, their men folk would give women a break  from the housework on January 6th.

Mainly a rural tradition, women would go out to celebrate the day with their friends, sisters, mothers, and aunts. Although Nollaig na mBan is slowly dying out in many parts of Ireland, overtaken by Mother’s Day; in some parts of Ireland, the tradition is still strong.

I came across the most wonderful nostalgic description of Women’s Christmas on a recent …

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