Thursday, December 20, 2007

Irish Christmas Decorations


Before everyone imported the idea of having a Christmas tree, the homes of Ireland were decorated at Christmas with boughs of holly. The green holly represents the crown of thorns and the red berries drops of blood from Jesus face and head.

When holly sprigs begin to appear on everything from picture frames to doorways and mantles, you know for sure that Christmas is coming. The placing of a ring of Holly on doors originated in Ireland as Holly was one of the main plants that flourished at Christmas time and which gave the poor ample means with which to decorate their dwellings.


During the holiday season you will find candles in the window throughout the north-eastern United States. They have the Irish to thank for this pretty tradition of lighting their windowsills.

Having a candle in your window on Christmas Eve meant that you were welcoming the Holy Family that found no such welcome in Bethlehem on Christmas. It may also signify that the home was one where the Catholic mass was celebrated. Either way it's a lovely tradition that exists in the US and Ireland alike.

And rest easy if your ambitious neighbor is taking down their tree on January 1. The Irish traditionally take down their decorations on Little Christmas (January 6) and it is considered to be bad luck to take them down beforehand.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Traditional Irish Christmas Cheer

Here are a few of my favorite Irish Christmas traditions to share with you;
The light of the Christmas star to you
The warmth of home and hearth to you
The cheer and good will of friends to you
The hope of a childlike heart to you
The joy of a thousand angels to you
The love of the Son and God's peace to you.

Some Irish Christmas Expressions

Nollaig shona duit (Happy Christmas)
Nollaig faoi shéan is faoi mhaise duit (a prosperous and pleasant Christmas)
Athbhliain faoi mhaise duit (a prosperous new year)
The Christmas season is apon us with all the good cheer and traditions we love.

Christmas Foods

The Christmas cooking would start early with the making of the plum pudding, breads and spiced beef. A traditional Irish Christmas meal might consist of roasted goose, potatoes, cranberry sauce, vegetables, sausages, and puddings. Spiced beef is often eaten sliced cold with fresh bread in the days after the main feast. (And please be sure to check out my recipe for mincemeat pie! It's a holiday and winter favorite.)

I hope everyone has a Wonderful Christmas and a prosperous and healthy New Year!