"Life offers up these moments of joy despite everything."
– Sally Rooney, Irish Author and Screenwriter
While the Christmas season typically draws to a close on Twelfth Night – the eve of the epiphany, the day the three wise men arrive at the crib with their gifts – in Ireland there is one more celebration to be had.
Nollag na mBan (“null-ig na mon”), commonly known as Women’s Christmas or Little Christmas, is celebrated on the 6th of January. Traditionally decorations are not taken down until that day - to do so early means bad luck for the year.
Nollaig na mBan is a day of rest and relaxation for women of the house, after the work they put into delivering Christmas and its associated feasts and fancies. The men take on the household duties, freeing women to make social calls to catch up on tea and gossip, or to visit their childhood homes.
In the late twentieth century the idea of Women’s Christmas had largely died out, although it remained strong in Cork and Kerry and the western islands. But recent years have seen something of a rejuvenation, with themed 'girls’ nights, ladies lunches, and other group activities for women only.
January is a wonderful time to visit Ireland, particularly the Aran Islands, where the practice of lighting candles in windows on the eve of Little Christmas is a lovely reminder of an old Irish tradition. But as a member of our Irish Expressions community, you know it is possible to express your 'Irish side,' wherever you are in the world!
One way to share your love of Ireland, particularly this time of year, is through scented candles and other gifts of Irish fragrance. Our friends at Real Irish have many options to choose from. As always, Irish Expressions members receive a 10% discount throughout the store.
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