Nollaig na mBan – Women’s Christmas

Originally posted January 6, 2013.

Little Christmas (Irish: Nollaig Bheag) is a holiday held on January 6th. It is celebrated all over the Christian world with the Feast of the Epiphany. This feast day commemorates the day when the Three Wise Men delivered their gifts to the newborn Jesus Christ, and thus the first day when the savior was revealed to his people.  It is known in the Scottish Highlands as La Feill nan Righ, the feast day of the kings.

In Ireland, this feast day signifies the final day of the Christmas season, which begins with St. Stephen’s Day on December 26. One tradition to help symbolize this end of the season is to burn the sprigs of holly that have been used as decorations for Christmastime.
The holiday is sometimes also called Women’s Little Christmas or Women’s Christmas (Irish:Nollaig na mBan), particularly in the Southern parts of Ireland such as counties Cork and Kerry. It is tradition for the Irish men to assume all household duties so that the women are free to celebrate and visit with one another. Due to this, pubs and restaurants serve primarily women on this night, and many children give gifts to their mothers and grandmothers.

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